Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines
Study Habits in Belgium
For a college student on the go, finding a place to study can sometimes be a hassle. With the hustle and bustle of college and city life, quiet places are hard to come by, and studying at home is sometimes not preferable to finding places around campus or throughout the community to do classwork. This, in fact, is how many Belgium students at VUB feel about their study habits and classwork. According to the students of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, many places around the campus and the city close too early to allow them ample study time, and it is affecting more than just their distaste over being forced to study at home.
Louise, a 19-year-old student at VUB says that she does not prefer studying at home because the quarters are cramped and it is noisy. She would much rather prefer studying at the library on campus but it closes at 9pm, which is too soon to fit her schedule; she works a part-time job until 10pm. Louise makes do with studying at home but the arrangement is effecting more than just her family life. According to “The Effects of Different Learning Environments on Students’ Motivations for Learning and Their Achievement,” where a student studies and learns can affect how much they are willing to work, or how diligently they work . Since beginning part-time work and having to switch to studying at home, Louis admits that her grades have begun to sink. She does not find herself as motivated to do her homework and will often excuse herself from an adequate amount of studying because she finds it useless to trying studying at home at all.
Another student, Mathis, is also studying at VUB. He is 20, and finds studying at home to be difficult. Mathis would prefer to study at the campus library or at the local cafes but they close at 9pm. Mathis does not have a part-time job that prevents him from reaching these locations in time, but simply finds these times to be insufficient for studying he needs to complete to earn good grades. Many studies published in Personality and Individual Differences have proven that students need adequate study time in order to achieve the grades they desire, making amply study space and locations crucial for students such as Mathis .
A third student, Victor, 22, unsurprisingly also does not like studying at home. Much like Louise, he finds his home to be too small and too noisy with his parents and siblings still living there. He prefers the quiet of the cafes but because of his class schedule is only allotted an hour of study time a night before the cafes close at 9pm. Though there is only an hour of study time available to him, Victor attempts to use it to the best of his abilities. As stated in, “Do Diligent Students Perform Better? Complex Relations Between Student and Course Characteristics, Study Time, and Academic Performance in Higher Education,” suggests that Victor’s tenacity would see him succeed at exceedingly high levels if he were given the study time he required in a place he wanted .
Locals who believe that establishments have no promises to make to the students of VUB would technically be correct. They are under no obligation to help the students’ progress any further in their education; however, Suzana Kosir concluded through her studies that when communities rally around students, they see their educational endeavors progress further than in communities that do not care . Furthermore, Kosir was able to find that in the cases involving communities that helped students and catered to their educational needs, an average of 65% of the students returned to the community in an attempt to help it flourish. In all three instances, with Louis, Mathis, and Victor, they admitted that if the community library and cafes would be more forthcoming with their hours, the three would be much more willing to return in order to help the community after they had completed their studies, in an effort to help the community continue thriving.
The primary study issue for the students of VUB appears to be that preferable study locations close too early, and many students do not want to study in their homes. Many housing units in Belgium are cramped, and several are too loud to allow for quality study time. An easy solution would simply be for establishments to keep their doors open longer so students could study when they need to, for the time they need to. Some believe this is unnecessary, but studies have shown that in the end, small sacrifices such as this can help the community; students will return and attempt to help the communities that helped them. It is in the best interest of the campus library and community cafes to be there for the students of VUB when they are needed so that the students and the community may continue to flourish.
Baeten, M., Docky, F., & Struvyen, K. (2013). The effects of different learning environments on students’ motivation for learning and their achievement. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 484-501.
Kosir, S. (2010). Study Support as Student's Motivation For Study. International School for Social and Business Studies, 25-45.
Masui, C., Broeckmans, J., Doumen, J., Groenen, A., & Molenbeerghs, G. (2012). Do diligent students perform better? Complex relations between student and course characteristics, study time, and academic performance in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 621-643.
Michoua, A., Matsagouras, E., & Lens, W. (2014). Dispositional achievement motives matter for autonomous versus controlled motivation and behavioral or affective educational outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences, 205-211.
Redding, S. (2011). The School Community: Working Together For Success. In S. Redding, M. Murphy, & P. Heley, Handbook on Family and Community Engagement (pp. 115-136). Chicago: IAP.