Student Life

4 Tips To Create a Productive Study Space at Home

Everyone knows there are times when, for any number of reasons, you’ll have to study or work from your home as opposed to a communal space, office, library, or cafe. Unlike these other locations, studying from home–while convenient–poses its own issues, including distractions and creating a mood that pushes you more to relax than be productive.

With that in mind, New York Film Academy (NYFA) has put together these tips to create a productive study space in your home. Even the smallest touches can pay off dividends with your work, studies, and creative output!

productive study space

Ensure ideal lighting

One of the first things students at NYFA’s Filmmaking and Cinematography students learn is color temperature–sunlight has a bluish hue and indoor lighting typically has a warmer, orange hue. Even if you’ve never overtly noticed this, your brain subconsciously has, and studies have shown that your body responds to sunlight and can be both physically invigorating and beneficial to your mood. 

To that end, make sure you find a space that has access to natural light. Sometimes, this isn’t possible, but there are alternatives such as cool temperature bulbs and “happy lights” that you can place on your desk and keep you from getting the indoor doldrums.

Add some green

Have an empty surface or open area on your wall in your study space? Try adding a plant or two. Adding some green near your study area can make your personal space seem more serene and lively, making it perfect for staying focused. Plants may also add a bit of color and are said to improve indoor air quality, according to institutions like NASA. Having one or more plants in your study area can make for a peaceful, stress-free environment. 

Plant tip for beginners: All plants have different needs, so start out small with a low-maintenance plant like a succulent or tillandsia, then work your way up to a Chinese green, fiddle leaf fig, or a spider plant. 

Your area should be clean, and free of clutter

While messy areas can often be part of the creative process, sometimes you just need to focus and clutter can be distracting and disabling to that process.

Here are a few tips to get your creative process going by removing clutter:

  • Take what you need: When you’re grabbing things to take to your desk, kitchen table, bedroom, or any other space, make sure you only bring the essentials like your water bottle, a laptop, a notepad with your editor’s notes, and your camera to upload footage.
  • Toss & trash: If you don’t need something for that study session, move it or throw it away. Try and remove all trash from your study area before you begin so you don’t get distracted by it being there later on. After your study session, clean up your area so you don’t have to do it the next time you are about to study.
  • Create zones: Maybe your study area isn’t just one area and it involves multiple places to get things done. By organizing your projects to be done in a certain area on your desk or in your study area, you can organize and better prioritize your workload. In other words, when you mentally move, you physically move. For example: Perhaps the right side of the desk is for your computer and the left side of the desk is for handwritten notes, and maybe there is a couch nearby that is your designated space to focus on editing your projects.

Adjust the noise

Some of us love listening to music while working. Songs put us in a good mood, but it’s important to pay attention to the content we’re supposed to learn; otherwise, music can end up being counterproductive. It might be better to alter the type of music you’re listening to, trying tunes that help provide focus rather than distract from it. Try classical music, where large orchestras can produce pleasant mental effects without taking your mind off the words on a page. 

Click here for a playlist from New York Film Academy with some of our favorite classical music.

productive study space

Additionally, ambient noise, such as white noise, pink noise, etc. played in the background at a consistent level can help mask unwanted sounds. Some of these background noises can also include rainfall and waves crashing on the beach. 

Click here for a Spotify playlist that NYFA has created with some of our favorites ambient sounds.

productive study space

Alternatively, sometimes a change of music and turning up the beat can be all it takes to get you back into study mode, so click here for another Spotify playlist with some of our all-time favorite pop songs.

productive study space

**Extra Tip** – Snack healthy

Remember always to keep handy some healthy snacks and a bottle of fresh water to keep your mental and physical energy up. Try to avoid over-consuming sugar and caffeine while studying, as the resulting crash could be counterproductive. 

Here are some fantastic brain food snacks for studying:

Dark chocolate
Air-popped popcorn
Hummus and veggies
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Nutella energy bites
String cheese
Roasted chickpeas

Student Essay: How NYFA Counseling Services Helped Me

The following is a short piece written by Pooja Sudhir, a 2018 graduate of New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking in New York City. When she left NYFA, Pooja said she wanted other students to know what it was like to try therapy on our campus.

I moved to New York City in January 2018. I had just turned 22.

It was the first weekend of March, the initial excitement of my new life had died down and the that fact that this was my new routine had slowly started to sink in.

I came home after classes (I had Monday off and we didn’t have class until 3:40 pm on Tuesday) and it was the first time where I had no assignments that kept me occupied, and no distant relatives visiting me. It suddenly occurred to me that I knew no one apart from a few friends I had made at school.

The weather was bad for me to go and explore the city; most people seemed to prefer staying indoors. This is completely contrary to how my social life was back home in Bangalore, India. Keeping in touch with people back home was hard because of the time difference. It became less about communication and more about exchanging information.

By then, I had already started noticing that I had started to fidget—something I never did before.

I used to wake up every morning feeling extremely anxious for no specific reason. There was this constant physical stress I felt, constant agitation and restlessness.   

On that day, my left hand started to shiver. I am usually someone who respects personal space but, for the first time, I felt like I wanted to hold somebody’s hand. Even watching something on Netflix seemed like a task. That was the day I decided to write to NYFA’s school therapist, Jacky.

I didn’t really understand the reality of relocating to a new country until a few days after it happened. I constantly pressured myself to believe that I was happy and that I was okay, because I genuinely believed I had no reason not to be “okay.”  

My loved ones were extremely supportive of my decision to seek out help, so I had no inhibitions about reaching out. I started my journey wanting to address homesickness and through the process, Jacky and I touched upon many minute chapters of my life—stories and secrets that’ll stay safe with my therapist forever.

For anyone wanting to reach out, I’d like them to know that there is nothing wrong or weak about asking for help. Throughout my journey, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was okay to admit that I wasn’t okay. I was suddenly comfortable being vulnerable when I needed to be.

In my last session with Jacky, I promised myself that I will never hide the fact that I have reached out for help from professionals, and that I will always encourage my friends and family to seek out help when they need it, even if they have apprehensions about doing so.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and has been observed in the United States since 1949. New York Film Academy urges all students, alumni, staff, and faculty to prioritize themselves and their own mental health, and throughout May will host a series of events to both raise mental health awareness and provide a therapeutic outlet for those in need.

The Best Foreign Films to Watch Before You Study Abroad

As you prepare for study abroad with NYFA, no doubt there are a lot of items on your to-do list — but we’re here today to remind you of a pre-travel essential that you won’t want to forget. Whether you are preparing for a course from NYFA Florence to NYFA Australia or NYFA Mumbai, watching a film created in your destination country can be an enjoyable way to kickstart your international education experience. Certain well-made films exemplify their quality through their ability to captivate the audience. They draw us in. They make the real world — our own lives — fade away, and we are engulfed by the cinematic universe (the diegesis) of the film. Some of the most enjoyable movies take us to a new, entirely foreign place and make every detail of its people, rituals, landscape, and culture magical.

One of the best ways to get excited before studying abroad and prepared for your venture into a very different world is to watch films that are based on the places you may study or visit. Listed below are some of the most enchanting foreign films from across the globe.

“Amélie” (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)

If you’re planning to study in France at NYFA Paris, this incredibly famous flick must not be missed. It follows Amélie, a quirky, imaginative romantic, who decides that her purpose in life is to help other people. The film traipses all over Paris, painting the city with wonder and mystery. It also nods, stylistically, to the films of the French New Wave, which, if you have time, are another essential as you prepare for your international education in film (see: “The 400 Blows” and “A Woman is a Woman”).

“Poetry” (Lee Chang-dong, 2010)


If you’re preparing to study in Asia at NYFA Beijing, NYFA Shanghai, NYFA Kyoto, or NYFA Seoul, this film may offer you extra inspiration. In this drama, a woman in her mid-60s signs up for a local poetry writing class. As she begins to fall in love with poetry, she discovers that she has Alzheimer’s disease. The reflective, emotionally electric film includes beautiful landscape shots of South Korean suburbs.

“Neighbouring Sounds” (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2012)

Ideal for students preparing to venture to NYFA Rio de Janeiro, this film, shot in the Brazilian city of Recife, follows a variety of characters around the neighborhood. Some residents are bourgeois, living in buildings with high security or gated communities. Others have little money, and they show their distaste for the wealth disparity by performing small acts of rebellion. The film is acclaimed for its artful uses of sound and cinemascope.

“Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)

Gearing up for a study abroad adventure at NYFA Berlin? Check out this film first. In this West German film, Emmi, a 60-year-old German hausfrau, and Ali, a younger Moroccan Gastarbeiter, fall in love, despite ideological backlash from family, society, and eventually, even each other. With beautifully crafted indoor and outdoor shots — particularly in the famous scene where Ali and Emmi sit in a park amidst a sea of yellow chairs — this film weaves together cultural contradictions in order to portray a deeper and more meaningful tale of forbidden love.

Studying filmmaking or acting for film with NYFA is an exceptionally rich and enlightening way for students of all backgrounds to expand their knowledge and gain a new perspective on the world. Interested in learning about all our NYFA international locations? Contact us, and begin your own study abroad adventure.

NYFA Welcomes International Students: An Infographic

In an increasingly interconnected, global world, the U.S. has continued to grow as a magnet for people from all backgrounds seeking to build a better life and a better world, as well as talented students from all nations who are driven to seek out the best educational opportunities possible. Higher education institutions are discovering the significant importance of fostering and cultivating a diverse, international student body. At New York Film Academy, we’re proud to help students from around the world reach their educational goals as they pursue their dreams and form lifelong relationships with peers and teachers. Which is why we’ve created an infographic to illustrate the vital contribution that international students continue to make in U.S. higher education.


Interested in learning more about NYFA’s thriving international community? Contact us for information on our degree, conservatory, workshop, and youth camp programs.

How to Thrive at NYFA in the Fall: 4 Tips


This fall, whether you’re a returning student or it’s your first year of studies, the autumn semester can be a wake-up call if unprepared. After months of summer vacation and (usually) a more laid back schedule, it can be a challenge to adjust and settle into a more demanding routine. Especially in NYFA’s immersive, hands-on programs, you may find yourself both exhilarated and surprised by the rigorous mix of energy, discipline, and practice that are your new normal.

A mixture of emotions sets in if you’re a student in the fall: the start of classes is exciting, but you might also feel nervous about classes, exams, teachers, scheduling, project work, and more. We’ve created a list of some ideas that can help you hit the ground running. You can rock your programs and make the most out of your time at NYFA. With the following tips, you’ll not only survive your fall semester at NYFA — you’ll thrive.

1. Make the Most of Your Time with NYFA’s Industry-Standard Technology and Premier Facilities


From the very beginning, NYFA has followed the same principle: the best way to learn is by doing. That is why every program offers hands-on courses where you are fully immersed in your chosen craft while working on hands-on, experiential projects that involve new technologies. But to give you the best hands-on experience possible, you need access to modern equipment.

From industry-standard tools to cutting-edge software, NYFA’s premier facilities have everything you need to learn professional-level skills. Since there are very few schools out there with the same intensive focus on hands-on learning with such an impressive supply of cutting-edge tools and tech, why not get your hands on it as much as possible? Make sure to book yourself lab time. Ask your teachers all your questions about the equipment used in their classes. Research new ways to improve your technical knowledge and skills. We’re confident that students who take extra time to learn how to master today’s equipment are more likely to not only graduate, but to compete in the real world.

2. Keep Up-To-Date on Important Events Happening on Campus


If there’s one thing you can expect during your fall program at NYFA, it’s for everything to get busy real quick. Whether you’re studying for an upcoming exam or getting together with fellow peers to nail down a project, it can be easy to lose track of important events happening on campus. We recommend you follow all of NYFA’s social media pages to learn about extra resources and special events going on that students from other schools dream of attending.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as our other social media channels.

And don’t forget to keep up with our incredible list of special guest speakers that frequently come by to help aspiring students. Previous speakers include Steven Spielberg, Al Pacino, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Howard, and Seth Rogen. Campus activities that bring students from different programs together are also valuable.

3. Learn From Your Phenomenal Teachers


At NYFA this fall, you have access to one of the best teams of staff ever assembled. Our faculty boasts professionals that have extensive experience and are still professionally active in the field they teach. Our faculty includes working directors, producers, cinematographers, writers, photographers, and more. No matter what area of study you choose, you’ll have the best of the best to teach you the skills needed to create and compete in the industry of your choice.

And the best part? Our instructors are committed to training the next generation of creative professionals and have a genuine passion for it. If you bring your A-game and A-student attitude, your teachers will be able to help you grow immeasurably. Be sure to pay attention and utilize your time in class and on projects to the utmost, respecting your instructors and gleaning as much insight, knowledge, and mentorship as you can. Remember that your instructors are also professionals in your field, and are offering you a unique edge and insight into the world of visual and performing arts.

4. Don’t Forget to Stop and Smell the Pumpkin Spice


Make no mistake about it — attending a visual and performing arts school can be a challenging experience, no matter the time of year. You’re in a new setting, possibly far away from home, and with a seemingly endless list of exams, projects, classes, and more to consider. But despite all this, most students come out of fall feeling satisfied and ready for more.

The key to this is focusing on your studies giving your all to your hands-on, intensive program experience this fall. You may make lifelong friendships and connections with other students. You will definitely learn new things. Don’t be afraid explore NYFA and your new campus. NYFA student life coordinators are always available to help get you involved in campus activities meant to offer fun learning experiences while you work toward your goals. With focus, hard work, and passion, your time at NYFA will be an experience that you will never forget.

Do you have any amazing tips on how to thrive during your studies at NYFA this fall? Let us know in the comments below!