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  • Tayler Bell

New Year, New Study Habits

At the start of the year, I honestly didn’t see myself making any resolutions. I didn’t want to push myself towards anything while I’m leaping into the unknown again. Everything I set out to do in 2020 didn’t exactly work out as planned, so I told myself to just let 2021 happen as it wants to happen. But, as the new semester started to creep up on me, I felt inspired to reach for a goal that I can achieve from anywhere, any time, no matter the circumstances. And that goal is healthy study habits.

You may be asking yourself, Tayler, what does this have to do with music or radio? My answer is the music I build these habits to. I was never one for classical music in the past. My parents used to play it for me as a child in hopes that it’d make me smarter, even though I’m pretty sure that’s a myth. I did ballet, so I heard it here and there in class. Sometimes it plays in the background of the films I watch. But I never set out to listen to anything classical on my own. I recently finished The Undoing on HBO and fell in love with a classical song that played in the first five minutes of the premiere episode - the Act II Pas de deux from the famous ballet, The Nutcracker. The main character in the show listens to classical music in the morning, so I started thinking, why don’t I try that?

After finding a few classical and dark academia playlists on Spotify, I now listen to Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms, you name it, for almost every occasion. Most notably, however, I’ve been playing these songs as I’m building new study habits. I’ve started using Notion to organize my class materials, to-do lists, literally just about every aspect of my life. Notion has a tool where you can build in a widget for any Spotify playlist, so I put classical music right there for me to have easy access to. Classical music has become an absolute necessity for me while doing any sort of productive work, whether that be homework, sending out emails, or even writing this blog post. I actually currently have the Act II Pas de deux from The Nutcracker playing in the background. Classical music motivates me to finish what I set out to do and keeps me from getting distracted by any song lyrics. But that isn’t to say that classical music gets drowned out. For me, it’s so hard to not actively listen to.

Research shows that listening to classical music has a number of benefits. It can assist in anything from stimulating brain activity to strengthening your immune system. It puts you in a heightened state of emotion which makes it easier to retain information. Maybe if I knew this earlier, this study habit would have come about a long time ago. In any case, this new discovery has totally changed the study game for me. Sometimes, trying new study habits can feel almost forced. But something about this one feels very natural to me, like I’ve always been doing it. If you’re finding yourself struggling to focus in the online school environment, which trust me, I understand completely, I recommend these playlists paired with the Focus Tomato app to get you started.

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