Oh, iced chai latte. How beautiful you are in all you do. Your Christmassy flavor, your refreshing chilly nature. Many a time, A-College-Student-Named-Me has taken a study break in whatever coffee shop happens to be available, and you’ve come to my rescue.

I close my book for a second, bleary-eyed, get my wallet, walk to the counter, and order you. And then I am lost in sweet bliss.

But then, one day, it hit me. A college student’s good study habits are not separate from you, Iced Chai Latte. In fact, they’re one and the same. Here’s why.

1. It’s always consistent

One of the most comforting things about a chai latte is that it’s so difficult to mess up. It’s guaranteed to be sweet and refreshing, no matter where you go. And this consistency is important in your study habits.

No matter what your routine is, keep it consistent. This will help form good habits, and you’ll gain confidence in yourself as a studying machine, because you’ll be able to see clear cause-and-effect.

A studying suggestion: set a timer for 25 minutes, focus on one thing, and then take a break for 5 minutes. Repeat.

2. Sets the tone for your day

A sip of this refreshing beverage in the morning is enough to convince you that the world is going to be okay. And studying should do the same for your stress levels.

If you sit down and look over your material for 10-20 minutes every morning, you’ll be sure to feel more familiar with what you’re learning. This means that when tests come around, you won’t panic and feel like you have a ton of ground to cover.

Because you’ve been hanging out with it every morning. And it’s no big deal.

3. A healthy alternative (a smart decision!)

I’m absolutely down for a cup of coffee in the morning. But, like many delicious things, coffee isn’t actually that great for you. Stains your teeth, gives you unfortunate breath…plus the caffeine.

But chai tea has far less caffeine. Plus, it smells great, and doesn’t slowly wash away your beautiful white smile. It can even be made with soy or almond milk, if you prefer a dairy-free option. Basically, a chai latte is a smart decision.
Forming regular study habits is also a smart decision. Not only will they help you now, but they’ll help you post-school. When you have your do-a-little-bit-of-this-thing-every-day habits in place, all you have to do is swap out studying and put in something else, like learning a language or practicing an instrument.

Right now, you’re training your brain for the better. And enjoying a tasty beverage.

4. If you let it sit for too long, it loses its potency

You know how when you first start studying, your brain’s clicking along, totally registering all the words you’re reading and what they mean?

And then, at a certain point, they just…start…slipping…away. You go from reading about the Velvet Revolution in 1989 to the Velvet Underground. What does Lou Reed have to do with the liberation of Prague? Huh?

Yeah. Take a break. You can’t study forever, just as you can’t drink an iced chai latte forever. If it sits too long, it gets melty and watered down, and it’s not nearly as effective of a refreshment. Give yourself—and your beverage—some well-deserved respect.

5. You can’t chug all the information at once—you need to absorb it through little sips

You can order a glass of water or a cup of plain coffee and drink it in 6 seconds without paying attention. But when you order a chai latte, you sip it slowly, savoring every bit. You don’t want it to disappear too quickly, because, in many cases, you paid between $3 and $5 for the privilege of having it.

Along the same lines, you can’t take Eastern European History and shove it into your head in one big gulp. You need to take small sips through your daily studying straw.

6. You can make one yourself, or pay an expert to make one for you

Okay. So, surprise—you know that you can make yourself an iced chai latte. You’ll need to brew the tea, put it in a pitcher in the fridge, let it cool, add ice, put it in a cup, and add some milk.

Or, you can also pay someone at a coffee shop to make it for you.

The same thing goes with study habits. You can make them yourself, or you can pay an expert to sit with you, develop a plan, and walk you through it step-by-step.

It’s not that one is necessarily better than the other—it’s just the final thread that ties your studying life in with the beverage we’ve been so lovingly discussing.

So next time you’re studying, remember the latte. And remember it well. It holds the keys to your academic success in each little chai-flavored ice cube.

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the author

Dressler Parsons is a senior at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. Besides writing for The Prospect, she also blogs educationally at Student-Tutor, and culinarily at Dressler Makes Things. In her free time, she loves kicking back with some leftover Mediterranean takeout and listening to podcasts like Song Exploder, The Allusionist, or This American Life.

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