Name: Merve

Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Occupation: Postgraduate student

Room size: 20 m2 (215 ft²)

Cost of the setup: $693 (£500)

Social media: YouTube and Instagram

Hey, Merve! Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi, this is Merve and I am a post-grad student in Glasgow.

While doing my master, I wanted to save some memories for later. Initially, I wanted to create a YouTube channel and put my videos while studying at the library or walking around the gorgeous University of Glasgow campus for myself.

Not many people know that but YouTube could also be used as a cloud service if you keep your videos only for yourself. With the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, I thought that my study videos might be helpful to many people, particularly to students.

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Honestly, I study hard. I have always been a hardworking student and working with me generally ended up well for my friends. Hence, I started sharing my study sessions with the public on YouTube and the feedback I receive has been encouraging so far.

I am not the first “Study with me” account on the web and will not be the last. There have been really successful accounts. Yet, my channel has been discovered so quickly and loved by a large number of people earlier than I anticipated.

People can find me on YouTube and also on Instagram.

Merve is a student at the University of Glasgow, swinging freely between Energy Security, Pipeline Politics and International Law
Merve is a student at the University of Glasgow, swinging freely between Energy Security, Pipeline Politics and International Law

Can you describe your study setup?

I prefer to study at the university library.

But due to the lockdown, I had to change my study habits and reshape my room to create the best possible study environment I could get.

My setup is quite simple. A study desk, a chair, a couple of plants, a camera to record my study sessions, a tripod, my study materials like laptop, pens and papers and so on.

I love keeping things simple. People usually comment on how minimalistic my setup is and I think so too. As a student, I don’t have time or money to make drastic changes in my place.

I guess the most dramatic change was replacing the desk from the wall side to in front of the window. I want to keep things this way actually and if I would buy a new thing, it would be another plant to beautify my room.

I usually prefer studying in the early morning. If I can’t study in the morning, then I try to make it up with a night study rather than an afternoon study.

Before I couldn’t study in front of a window due to the fear of distraction but since I moved my desk to the window side, the view through the window has proved to be more helpful and not at all a distraction.

Merve loves studying when it's raining. In Scotland, they would call it 'dreich': grey, damp, and overcast weather
Merve loves studying when it’s raining. In Scotland, they would call it “dreich”: grey, damp, and overcast weather

What’s your favourite item on your desk?

My favourite item on my desk is definitely my water bottle. Don’t know why or how but it makes me feel safe and I don’t want to part with it ever.

I try to drink a minimum of three litres a day. I bought it from Morrisons last year for a couple of pounds. I like its colour, vibrant teal.

Merve's teal water bottle takes a prominent space on her desk
Merve’s teal water bottle takes a prominent space on her desk. Hydration is beneficial for the body in many ways, including maintaining blood pressure, boosting energy and improving memory

What does your typical day look like?

I usually get up before sunrise. I wash my face, drink some water and pray.

I look at my phone to see if I got any messages from my family back home or friends and hence the app I open first in the morning is mostly WhatsApp.

After a solid breakfast, my husband brews a strong filter coffee with the beans he’s roasted and ground then I start studying.

I am following a 50 minutes study 10 minutes break format and repeat this several times daily.

Most of the days, I try to study for 4-6 hours. I follow online lectures on my study area which is international energy security or related topics such as international law, climate change, energy technologies and so on. This is mostly followed by readings on the relevant subject and taking notes and writing papers.

Christmas desk decorations don't have to be fancy or expensive to brighten up one's mood
Christmas desk decorations don’t have to be fancy or expensive to brighten up one’s mood

I never play video games. If I am not studying, I prefer to go out to take a walk with my spouse and relax.

Reading, watching a movie or TV series, playing chess with my husband and video calling my family back in Turkey are the top activities I do.

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If it wasn’t for the COVID-19 lockdowns, I would spend almost all of my time at the library and once this outbreak passes I think the time I spend at home on my desk will greatly decrease. Because being surrounded by books and around fellow students who study to achieve their goal help me boost my motivation and make me feel more concentrated.

Your tips for studying from home?

I would suggest everyone keeping things simple. Less material is less distraction.

Trying to get the best out of what one already has is better than pouring lots of money into the mere setup.

Because what we do, our work is what’s essential not the tools we use. At least I believe so.

And I also believe that setting daily, weekly, short term, long term goals and following a planned path to achieve them is very important in being successful.

Getting up early and taking long peaceful walks are the two things I can advise without hesitation.

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