Outfitted and Equipped: Studying at the Library

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 11, 2013 · 10 Comments

in Outfitted & Equipped, Visual Guides

Studying at the Library 2

0713_SennheiserLogo_125x125 This post is brought to you by Sennheiser MOMENTUM On-Ear HeadphonesFind out more here.

How does Outfitted & Equipped work? The FAQ.

While it’s great to rock something dapper on the first day of class, when you’re off to the library for a study session, you’ll probably want to keep it more casual and comfortable. At the same time, you don’t want to look like a slob; you never know when your study buddy could become more than a gal pal. Here are some items to keep you looking decent, and being productive.

1. The Backpack. GR1 from GORUCK. In my opinion, there’s no need to spend too much on clothes when you’re in college — the time for that is after you graduate when you’re ready to start putting together a more mature wardrobe of quality pieces that will last for years and years. But you might consider investing in a top-of-the-line backpack. Buy the right one now and you can use it for the rest of your life. Enter the GORUCK GR1. Built in the USA of military-grade, highly water-resistant materials, it comes with a lifetime repairs guarantee, will look as appropriate on you now as it will when you’re 40, and can be used for walking around campus, traveling the world, overnight trips, and of course, completing a GORUCK Challenge! They’ve even been used by Special Forces soldiers, who have reported that their durability and low profile relative to volume capacity make them an ideal assaulter’s pack. How’s that for versatility?

2. The Paper. Oxford Single Subject Notebooks. For taking notes in college and law school, I mostly used Evernote on my computer. But I had a few classes where the professor barred laptops from the classroom. For such classes, and when I simply wanted to write by hand anyway, I turned to the old analog method: notebooks. Always preferred the single subject kind and having one for each class.

3. The Soundtrack. Coffitivity + Explosions in the Sky. I can’t focus very well in complete silence. I need to have a little background noise and music to really get in my study zone. In fact, research shows that a bit of background noise actually boosts cognition. Back in my law school days, I always studied while listening to some white noise–often the sounds of an ocean or a rolling creek. On top of that I would listen to some non-distracting ambient instrumental music. While I’m no longer in school, I still use a cognition-boosting soundtrack when I’m writing and researching. Lately I’ve been using a free web app called Coffitivity for my white noise. Coffitivity plays the sounds of a calm, yet bustling coffee shop. It’s the perfect amount of background noise to get the creative juices flowing for that research paper. On top of that, I like to listen to anything by the instrumental rock band Explosions in the Sky. They’ll make whatever it is you’re working on feel like an epic quest.

4. The Boost. 5-hour Energy. When you’re knee-deep in a giant textbook on economic theory, it’s pretty easy for your eyelids to get super heavy. 5-hour Energy is my go-to energy booster for that “2 o’clock feeling,” or whenever a reading-induced coma strikes. Just like the commercials say, it starts working in minutes. And its small size makes is easy to inconspicuously down if the library bans drinks.

5. The Tee. AoM Strength and Honor T-shirt. As an AoM reader, you probably strive to break the college bro stereotype. Give yourself a moral reminder in the morning to be a man of strength and honor when you don this tee.

6. The Pullover. Old Navy Lightweight Pullover. Libraries can often get pretty chilly, so wear or bring a pullover.

7.  The Shorts. Gap Flat Front Shorts. One small way to upgrade your wardrobe when you transition from high school to college is to choose classic flat front shorts, as opposed to the bulky and baggy cargo variety. For more easy ways for a college student to upgrade his style, check out this post.

8. The Belt. Old Navy Brown Belt. A quality belt is another item you might consider investing in (or asking for as a gift) since the same one can look as appropriate now as in your thirties, and a good one can last for decades. But if you’ve got a tight budget, something inexpensive like this will get you through the next few years.

9. The Shoes. Dexter Mackinaw Canvas. Decent-looking casual shoes and dirt cheap.

10. The Help. Leather Book Weight. I wish I had discovered the wondrous book weight earlier in my academic career. A book weight keeps your book open so you can transcribe notes from it without struggling to keep the pages from turning. Simple, yet life-changing.

11. The Computer. Acer Aspire. An affordable touschscreen laptop for the college student on a budget.

12. The Distraction Nanny. LeechBlock. It happens to us all. You have the best of intentions in being super productive with your study session. But then you find yourself surfing over to Gmail, followed by a quick look at Facebook, which leads to a browsing session at Reddit. Before you know it, an hour has passed and you’ve got nothing to show for it. This semester, make it a goal to quit mindlessly surfing the internet and actually get stuff done. One tool that I used during college and law school to help me stay focused was a Firefox extension called LeechBlock. It allows you to block time-wasting sites in several ways. First, you enter which sites you want to block. Next, you tell the program when you want them blocked. For example, you can set LeechBlock to block your designated sites until 5PM on weekdays, but keep them available to you all day on the weekends. Another way you can set it up is to block certain sites after you visit them for a certain amount of time. So if you want to limit your Facebook browsing to just 30 minutes a day, you can have LeechBlock block Facebook after you’ve reached your 30-minute limit. If you use Chrome check out Nanny or StayFocused.

13. The Headphones. Sennheiser MOMENTUM On-Ear. You’ll need some headphones to listen to your study soundtrack. Plus headphones act as a “Do Not Disturb” sign so you can get some distraction-free work done. The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones combine old-school style with modern high-tech, high-fidelity performance, just like the original MOMENTUMs, but less expensive and more compact. Enjoy the full depth and detail of your music with these beauties.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Derek September 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Seeing as I am at the library now, studying for tomorrows midterm; following number 12 would mean I could not read this.

2 Tyler September 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm

In my opinion, if you get dressed up just to go to the library, you’re doing it wrong. However, these are still some decent options for casual dress.

3 Zac B September 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Number 12 totally describes me right now. Surfed facebook for a second and saw an article to read by AoM to procrastinate my homework. Well, time to get back to it. Good read, really like this coffitivity thing for the entire 5 minutes I’ve been using it. And +1 on Explosions in the Sky, another good ambient/instrumental band is The American Dollar.


4 Chris G September 11, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Congrats and welcome back! Thanks for these posts. Love outfitted and equipped. Lots of ideas to build off of!

5 Pasha September 11, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Isn’t number 10 basically a slapjack?

6 EssDee September 12, 2013 at 2:12 am

Thanks! Although I stopped being a college student more than a decade ago, this is perfect for out-of-office working, say at a cafe.
Can you suggest a Windows alternative for #12? My office does not allow any other browser apart from IE!

7 Jim Weston September 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Great getup for going to the library. More casual, which is good for that environment.

8 Joshua September 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

EssDee-you might want to check out Cold Turkey (at getcoldturkey.com). It’s simpler than the program mentioned (you just set your list of blocked places, and a date/time until which to block them), but you can also use it to block programs (I usually block a list of websites and a particular game).

9 Buddy September 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Book weight? My wife’s got one for cookbooks and I always thought it looked like a sap; the Google proved I’m not the only one…

10 Nick October 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Agreed on the bookweight. And this is coming from the guy who usually has some sort of a “self defense” tool on him. But that’s a sap, not a bookweight, and in many states, including PA, that’s a class A misdemeanor. Would you win the court case? Probably, but when the campus police officer sees it, the thought process will go “who is the manly gent with the blackjack?” not “He sure is studious”. Try a book clip, or a paperweight instead.

That being said, the rest of the list is awesome. Especially the GR1, Explosions in the sky, and the exact pair of shoes I’m wearing right now

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