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Finding your niche: make studying a lifestyle

The first of year of graduate school was a transition to say the least. It was a whirlwind of exams, lectures, and proficiencies. It was an endless cycle of learning – learning beyond study guides, course manuals, and powerpoints - and further finding oneself. It was a giant jigsaw puzzle, in which I constantly was trying to find my groove, to figure out what study schedule worked best for me, and how to best fit all of life into my new graduate school routine.

I found myself constantly stressed and overwhelmed, not at ease with my school and life balance. I knew I had to make some changes and found that the root of that change, was in my perspective and in my lifestyle choices – it was in finding my niche and how best to incorporate the study life into my personal and academic goals.

Thus, I changed up my usual study locations and found spots with the right ambiance, lighting, and energy. At times, I found studying in solitude allowed me to better focus and minimize distractions and that other times, studying with others motivated and encouraged me in a different manner. I found the importance of taking time for self care, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with family and old friends. I enjoyed a change of scenery from the usual library view to nearby coffee shops and little nooks on campus. I found playlists that optimized my study flow.

Most importantly, I learned the importance of being mindful. By keeping in mind the bigger picture, I became more intentional with my study habits and more motivated to succeed. I no longer looked at studying as an obligation, but as a lifestyle. My set study intervals from one hour to the next were now study plans, in which I enjoyed a cup of coffee while looking over midterm notes or felt more at peace that I was making progress in my optometric goals. With this new mentality, I felt that studying fell into place within my personal life and overall, felt at ease with my new lifestyle.

It has been a journey, but I hope to apply this new perspective in these next few years and hope that you find your own personal study groove. I hope that you find places that uplift your spirits, people and environments that are positive and motivational for you to succeed, and your own perspective on mindfulness and intention. I hope that, you, too, find your niche.


Ronalie Baldovino 

Optometry Student 

Class of 2022

Southern California College of Optometry 

Marshall B. Ketchum University 

2575 Yorba Linda Blvd. | Fullerton, CA 92831-1699

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