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Jan 26, 2019 03:13 PM EST

Beating the Winter Blues without Compromising Your Grades


In the middle of the winter semester, there's no contest between reading the next chapter and booting up your Switch. Gaming will always win. But you're on campus for a reason, and it's not to play Nintendo - it's so you can graduate with a diploma that will (hopefully) earn you a job.

The chances of that happening decrease every time you prioritize exploring Hyrule over studying for an important test. If you're having trouble putting down the Joy-Con for your notes, check in with this guide. It offers simple ways you can let off some steam without putting your grades at risk.

Don't mix business with pleasure

Good studying hygiene involves keeping your studying area separate from where you play your Switch. Not unlike sleep hygiene - a method of increasing restfulness at night and alertness during the day - gaming hygiene offers tips to keep a healthy separation between gaming and studying. This advice comes with a couple of benefits, including:

  • It helps you focus. With fewer distractions within reach, you'll increase your chances of sticking to your book or assignment.

  • It makes a clear divide between work and play. When you don't mix gaming and studying in the same place, you won't subconsciously associate your work area with relaxation. This goes a long way to helping you stay on task.

Keeping this divide may be a challenge when you live in a dorm. You may not have enough space to split into different "zones". This is where the Switch lends itself greatly. As a portable console, you can play it anywhere you want - your bed, the student lounge, or a coffee shop around the corner.

If you do end up taking your Switch out, we recommend putting a Switch skin around your console and Joy-Con. Companies like dbrand make 100% safe Nintendo Switch skins that add traction to an otherwise slippery device. It will help you keep a grip on your Switch controllers, reducing the chances of dropping or damaging them.

Depending on what you're studying, your classwork may also benefit from an itinerate lifestyle. Check out the campus library, lounges, and computer labs to see if these offer quiet, distraction-free places for you to study.

Make playing harder to do when you need to study

The problem that most students face is that the time in front of the screen is more rewarding and fun than anything that happens in front of a book. While some people love to read and find learning easy, others have to work for it. Maybe you have to put 110 percent to get the bare minimum completed.

If this sounds like you, it may be a challenge to drum up the same amount of passion for studying as you have for lapping your dormmates in Mario Kart. You can attempt to rebalance the scales by:

  • Making it a chore to find your Switch. Part of the reason the Switch is so easy to play is that you can pull it out of your bag, turn it on, and be jumping around in Splatoon in just a few minutes. The trick is to put several steps between you and the game, so you're less likely to break from your studying. Separate the Joy-Con from the display, dock, cords, games, and headphones. Going on a treasure hunt to find all the components of the Switch could be the deterrent you need.

  • Log out. It's as simple as that. Logging out adds an extra step that can stop people from checking social media feeds, shopping online, and gaming. This is an especially helpful step if you play games on the computer you use to complete assignments or write essays. You can create a studying profile for when you boot up your computer, so you can't access games while you're busy. You can also download website blockers and other focus-enhancing apps to keep you out of distracting programs.

When the days are cold and the nights colder, it's easy to want to hole up in your dorm room and play games morning, noon, and night. But this is a sure-fire way to drop from an A to a B to a C or lower. If you want to keep your grades up despite the mid-winter blues, try out the techniques above. They may be able to help you strike the right balance between what you have to do and what you want to do.

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