February 2020

The PP Effect: How does your Place affect your Productivity teaser image
I remember my first day at Texas A&M University’s campus. Right before my first semester in the fall of 2019, I noticed everyone roaming around campus and taking photos. The campus of Texas A&M University was a city by itself. I had never been to a campus as huge as this one. Frankly, I didn’t know which building belonged to which department, but all I could see was huge buildings with names of distinguished people written on them. I was amazed to see different statues on the campus. The rich tradition and history of those statues had me spellbound.
In my pursuit of discovering more buildings, I eventually arrived at Kyle Field. Kyle Field was the biggest stadium I had ever been to in my life till now. Coming from India, I always dreamt of visit big cricket stadiums in my country, but I never got the chance to visit them. When I saw Kyle Field on the Texas A&M University website, I knew I would achieve my dream of visiting big stadiums at Kyle Field. It’s a strange and special feeling to see your dreams coming true far away from your home country. That was the moment I knew Texas A&M University was going to be my home for the next few years.
I had two weeks before the semester was to begin, and I utilized most of those days to visit campus in the hopes of meeting new people and making new friends. But, to my disappointment, I didn’t get to meet a lot of people. I found out that all the students were on vacation. During this time, I visited Evans Library, Cushing Memorial Library, and Evans Library Annex. It was an amazing feeling to be inside such a huge library. With not many people inside at the time I visited, I knew that someday I would spend most of my time here.
My first semester started and before I knew it, assignment submission due dates started to appear on my schedule. In my undergrad university, we used to take 5-6 courses every semester. Being a Grad student now, I took 3 courses thinking it would be easy to handle it. After the first month was over, I had enough data with me to analyze my performance. I used to spend most of my time in my room after classes in trying to finish up all the pending stuff. I evaluated my performance and eventually found out I could do a lot better than what I was doing. After much introspection, I figured out, my attention span had reduced, and I knew that something had to change in my life if I was to be able to spend more time on studies. One of the thoughts that occurred randomly was changing my environment. This thought took me back to the libraries that I had visited only once during my first two weeks on the campus.
As I started spending my time at the libraries, I realized I was able to get more done in less time and at the end of the day, I felt more energetic than what I used to feel before. Something was not right. I felt uncomfortable thinking about how it was possible. It was during one of these random days, a thought came to my mind. This thought made me realize, it was due to the environment and the people who indirectly motivated me to go that extra mile. Sometimes, the things that we see in our surroundings might not be of importance in our lives, but those are the factors that define our performance. It’s so apparent in sports, where the audience and its reaction can clearly influence the teams performing. In academia, you will face some days where you know you simply cannot stop working or cramming for a subject or just submitting an assignment. It is in these moments, sometimes, we feel the need for some motivation or just something that can keep the mind fresh so that it can perform for a length of time that we have set out for.
The environment and the students at Texas A&M Libraries indirectly and heavily became my sources of motivation. After I started visiting the Evans Library Annex, I could spend an entire day there reading books and keeping myself busy with the coursework. At times, I felt tired and lazy but just a short glance at the environment inside, the students, and their dedication towards their goals kept me active and made my mind re-focus with more energy on what I was doing. The most obvious things are the things that might seem too small to care about but if you give enough importance to them, they might start giving you the required energy and help you to go that extra mile.
No matter how much work is on your plate, no matter how challenging it seems at first, if you feel that you are lagging or unable to devote enough time on studies, try to improve your productivity. You can do that by changing your environment and letting it perform its magic on you. For me, the environment was the libraries and the people were the students at the library. If you feel like you are unable to find the motivation, try changing your environment and be at a place that is silent, but also has tons of people in it – a library. Libraries do possess some magical power, which can elevate your potential and keep your mind fresh all the time. In a nutshell, I call this – the PP effect.

Pavan Govind
---Pavan Govind is the Master student in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

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