You might think that spending all day locked away inside studying is the best way to get work done. But actually, when you think about it, many moments of inspiration come when we least expect it. Staying cooped up might actually be counterproductive. We’re all ambitious and university is the place to be if you are planning a long and successful career; however, your eureka moment might not come if you’re sat between the same four walls you always are.
If you’ve got an exam, are writing a thesis or dissertation, or have module-based coursework to complete, take your studying elsewhere – perhaps in a nice local coffee shop or in a quiet part of town near somewhere that’s inspiring, whether that’s St Paul's, Greenwich, or by the Thames as it winds through Central London.
Here are some ideas.
Find some green space
Just looking at nature can make your brain work better, according to research carried out at the University of Melbourne. Don’t just look at the tree by your window – go one better and head to one of London’s parks.
Favourites of ours include Greenwich Park – with views over Isle of Dogs; Primrose Hill, where you can see over Central London; and Victoria Park – with its sprawling greenery boating lake.
Take a blanket, some food, or even your coursemates. Group revision sessions on the lawn in the sunshine, followed by lunch and a drink in one of London’s many traditional pubs, will help you turn a day of wall-to-wall revision into one to remember.
Become a local in a coffee shop
Mmm coffee. Good coffee shops are a strong sign that you’re in a trendy or up-and-coming area. Find a nice and cosy coffee shop with exquisite beans and a nice music policy that lets you work in relative peace and quiet, and you’ll be able to work away without distraction.
Forget the big chains, independent coffee shops are the way to go. Three of the best in London include Ozone Coffee Roasters Shoreditch, London Grind in various locations, and Bar Termini in Soho.
Sit on the steps of a famous listed building
London is world-famous for its history. It’s why millions of tourists come to visit each year, and why plenty of international students make it their home. There are so many inspiring places and buildings in the city, just by sitting by one, you might have a brainwave.
Take your pick: Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral, imposes itself over the city and its steps are just the place to sit down and read; across the river, Tate Modern’s expansive Turbine Hall is unique and the art housed in the galleries might trigger your creativity; the Victoria & Albert Museum in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, affectionately known as “Albertopolis” after Prince Albert who founded many of the nearby cultural institutions, will provide ample inspiration.
The London Underground gives the capital a different edge, and the vast, sprawling subterranean world could also provide you with somewhere unique to read up on your course and delve into your textbooks.
Okay, so maybe not during rush hour, but a long ride on the tube might be something different to get you thinking. It’s a shame, though, that the Circle Line isn’t a fully-joined circle anymore, otherwise you could’ve studied all day long without getting off.
Make the most of your university library
University is not just about endless studying, it’s important to make the most of your time in your city, whether you’ve moved from abroad or from another part of the country.