Getting into Study Mode: Find your Focus Using these Eight Websites

by Danielle Owen

Feeling helpless after Barnard Library closes? Is Butler is too far away? Don’t be afraid to camp out in an overcrowded Sulz lounge—you can always drown out the Scandal reruns blasting from the TV with background noise from one of the following websites:

Rainy Mood: Simple and effective, opening this website is like stepping outside in the middle of a rainstorm (something Barnard students rarely do when it’s actually raining unless necessary, thanks to the miracle that is our underground tunnel system). Want something even more soothing? Click the option to add “Romantic Spanish Guitar”. Doing calculus problem sets has never felt so good.

Coffitivity: This is my preferred website to use whenever I have to write something artsy. Citing research that shows “being a tiny bit distracted helps you be more creative”, the web app plays “coffee shop sounds”—glasses clinking, pages turning, people talking, chairs sliding—to provide just enough background noise to increase your productivity. Moreover, you can waste nine dollars in effort to achieve ultimate hipster status and buy a premium account, which gives you access to sounds from themed cafes, such as the Paris Paradise or Brazil Bistro.

Nothing like pretending you’re in a forest to
get those creative juices flowing

Sound Drown: What if you want rain and coffee shop sounds at the same time? Or waves and fire and bird sounds all at once? I suppose it might beat the purpose of “ambient music”, but you’re a Barnard Woman. You can have it all (or, with this website, as many ambient sounds as you want at the same time).

iSerenity: Would you define the sounds of a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer as “ambient”? There’s an app for you, weirdo. This one also has purring (particularly useful during that point in your all-nighter when you just want to roll around in some cats), city sounds (because you just can’t get enough of those garbage trucks on Claremont you wake up to every morning) and, most boringly, white noise.

Get Work Done: This website is the internet equivalent of the time you convinced the employees at Liz’s to give you six shots of espresso in a single cup of coffee. There is no possible way to fail at writing a 2000 word essay in three hours with fast-paced dubstep, supplied by Get Work Done, pumping through your highly caffeinated, sleep-deprived system.

Jazz and Rain: Although you may feel like you’ve been transported back into the 90s, but there’s nothing quite like finishing a long homework assignment in the wee hours of the night to the sound of an intensely smooth saxophone solo.

Snowy Mood: Apparently, snow has a sound. Who knew? If you’d rather be trudging through four feet of densely packed snow in the middle of a wintery tundra rather than sitting under the industrially-lit, does-it-smell-like-weed-in-here Sulz computer lounge, this is the website for you.

Forest Mood: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Apparently it does, according to this app. Forests have sounds. This is starting to get ridiculous.

BONUS Showertime: I have no idea how or why this website came to exist. But, if you haven’t showered since your first midterm a few days ago, perhaps a virtual shower (and some dry shampoo) is all you need to keep going. You can even set the length of the shower, the size of the bathroom, the water pressure, and turn the radio on and off.

Other options include: putting on a Pandora station, turning on Spotify radio, or finding a favorite 8tracks playlist. In my experience, however, nothing pulls me out of a steady workflow quite like sudden, random advertisements for random things, like the upcoming Ouija Board Movie. Next time I need to find my Zen and get work done, I’ll turn to one of these sites for my ambient fix—albeit, probably not the vacuum cleaner one.

Danielle Owen is a sophomore at Barnard and the Social Media Strategist and Politics Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

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