Spring season has quickly approached us on Hawk Hill and we are impatiently waiting for the raining days to turn into clear sunny skies. A Saint Joe’s tradition is to sit out on our beautiful campus and enjoy the warm weather. Some hot spots are the Barbelin steps, picnic tables scattered around campus, Villiger lawn, and in front of Starbucks. At this point, we are tired of either studying in our dorm rooms or the library, so we migrate outside. Although it may feel as if we are being productive by taking our books outside, we noticed that students hardly tend to get anything done. We talked to St. Joe’s students about why they like studying outside and the problems that arise when making the great outdoors your classroom.

We know that too much sun or wind can’t keep SJU students cooped up inside! That’s why we have created solutions for your most common conundrums. These suggestions may seem silly, however, they work! It is good to be creative, especially when problem solving. The following issues are those that arose the most as we talked to fellow classmates and friends on campus. For each issue we have provided a helpful, yet humorous solution that you should try on our final month here on Hawk Hill this semester!

Problem 1: Papers Flying Everywhere

Nothing is worse than getting all set up with you notebook, a worksheet, and pencil case on a picnic table only to have a gust of wind come and send your papers flying everywhere. This is something that may prevent students from bringing their work outside to begin with. For this issue, the solution is simple. As you get to your chosen spot to do work, pick up some small rocks along the way. When you get to your spot, just place the rocks on selected corners for your papers and they will stay down, even through the strongest winds out by the Villiger wind tunnel!

Also, a helpful strategy may be to plan out your work schedule and take outside the least amount of papers as possible! For example, you can plan on reading. That would not require any hardships with a computer and would prevent from having tons of papers from flying around and getting out of order.

Problem 2: Computer Runs Out of Battery

We all love our laptops, they are the key to success when it comes to school work now a days. A nightmare we all have is out computer running out of battery and not having a charger nearby. When we are in our rooms or the library, there are always chargers available to fix this issue super fast, yet this is not the case while outside. This solution is a little complicated, yet very helpful if you can get it done. First thing you need to do is make a friend or even friend of a friend to someone who lives on second floor Villiger. Next, bring an extension cord to their room and plug it in, feed the cord out the window, and connect it to you computer charger! You may need many extension cords to complete this task. This little trick can be used anywhere on campus. If you are studying outside Starbucks for example, simply plug the extension cord in and then feed it outside through the door. This may sound obnoxious at first, but once everyone sees it they will all be doing the same thing. Soon enough it will be trending here on campus, so watch out and be sure to not trip over a cord!

Problem 3: Computer Glare with the Sunlight

Computer glare is probably the most annoying issue that arises while working outside. It is so common be be ready to enjoy a nice productive and sunny day, with no wind, and a fully charged laptop, outside. Computer glare can even happen inside, yet is almost inevitable outside. There is a super easy fix to this! Grab your rain umbrella on your way out the door, and bring it to your choice of a study spot. If your are on the lawn; stick it into the ground, if you are at a table; try and balance it. This little trick will protect your laptop from sun glare and overheating, as well as protecting yourself from getting a sunburn!

Benefits with Studying Outside

  • Studies show it is more productive
  • No distractions from your room/food
  • Gives your health a boost
  • Decrease stress

Although it may seem like studying outside has too many challenges to stay productive, there are benefits that come with studying outside. The article, The Art of Studying Outside, referred to a study performed by the National Academy of Sciences; “outdoor learning was found to be significantly more time efficient compared to learning in a controlled or familiar environment”. The author is suggesting that studying outside on a sunny day enhances the productivity with a student and the change of scenery is beneficial to a student.

In addition, being outside of your room can eliminate many of the distractions that we call productive procrastination. These can include cleaning your room, snacking, doing laundry, and going to the bathroom an excessive amount of times. While all of these things are obviously important to do, setting aside time for work without worrying about anything else will greatly increase productivity.

The best news of all may just be that studying outside is proven to reduce stress and boost health. USA Today tells us that as humans, our natural desire to be in nature makes us more calm. The article suggests that “studying outside where you can see, hear, and smell the natural world around you can increase your brain’s feel-good chemicals, putting you in an overall better mood.” Not only that, but some natural vitamin D is always good to improve your immune system.

As spring very slowly approaches on Hawk Hill, we can’t wait to see everyone come out of the woodwork to enjoy some nice weather. We hope you try our foolproof study tricks!



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