Finding a place to study around campus can be difficult. There are so many buildings to choose from, and most students don’t even know where to begin looking. With the start of a new semester, it’s more important than ever to search for your perfect study spot. A good study spot can help you focus and retain more information, which ultimately leads to better grades.
What makes a good study spot? Most students don’t realize the impact an environment has on them. Especially when spending extended periods of time, it can take a toll on your body and mind. When searching, I had a few criteria for how I scored different locations: quietness, comfortability, lighting, and aesthetics.
Some may say: why not study in your dorm? I mean it’s a convenient location, and there’s already a desk and chair! Countless research has shown that dorms are one of the worst spots to study. There’s a ton of distractions. Besides your roommate, many dorm halls are noisy and full of people. Your dorm should be a place where you go to relax, so when you’re constantly doing work in that space, the line blurs between school and home. According to research by the National Sleep Foundation, when you do activities that make you anxious before sleeping (studying/ cramming for a test), it hinders your ability to sleep. I highly recommend ditching the dorm when studying, and reserving it solely for sleeping and relaxing.
Now that we’ve covered what a good study spot should and shouldn’t include, we can now explore the many options that are right on campus and perfect for the occasion.
Science and Engineering Center
The Science and Engineering Center (SECC) has some of the nicest and newest study spots on campus. There are dozens to choose from scattered all throughout the building. Most are located at the end of hallways or in main lobbies, but they also have rooms designated for studying. Many of these areas are set up for collaboration with features such as white board walls which you can use to solve a math problem or brainstorm ideas. This makes SECC the perfect meeting point for group projects of any kind. Because of the vast number of study spots available, you’re bound to find an empty, quiet space every time.
Saxbys is the coffeeshop study spot that we all dream of. It is so inviting, from the moment you step inside you are hit with a friendly atmosphere. The store has natural lighting, plenty of seating options, and soft background noise, what more could you want? Another added bonus of Saxbys is the plethora of baked goods and coffee they offer. A quick pick me up or a celebratory sweet treat is just a step away. The University of Illinois found that individuals are more creative with an ambient sound of 70 decibels (the average volume of a coffee shop); even science is in favor of Saxbys!
Business and Public Management Center
The Business and Public Management Center (BPMC) is relatively new, which means it’s a pleasant environment for studying. When new buildings are constructed, architects take study spaces into consideration, and the BPMC is a perfect example of this. Study nooks in the hallway, lounges by the staircase, or even empty classrooms are all great options for studying in this building. Natural lighting is the main selling point of this building. Fluorescent lights are used in many buildings, and many times they lead to headaches or exhaustion. Having sunlight stream through the many windows is a nice change of scenery.
Sykes Student Union
Many students go here to grab a quick meal or hang out with friends, but have you ever thought to study here? Well Sykes has some great options for a relaxing, quiet environment! The third floor of the building specifically has the best spots; with rooms such as the Frederick Douglass Study Lounge and computer lab. A quiet reflection and meditation lounge is also housed on this floor which is perfect for students seeking refuge from long nights studying. The second floor of Sykes includes a lounge specifically for commuters and off campus students. Next time you’re heading to Rams Head Food Court, take a trip upstairs and check out the plentiful study spots Sykes offers.
Francis Harvey Green Library
This may be an obvious study spot, but libraries are seriously underrated by students! The Journal of Learning Spaces calls libraries “the most important attribute of a university”. It is a great option as it has spaces for every environment: individual-focused work, group projects, socialization, and even relaxation. There are 6 floors, each alternating between quiet study and collaborative work, so depending on what your study needs you can choose accordingly. The library also has unique resources like the LARC tutoring program, writing center, and aid in research.
So next time you’re getting ready to have a study session, branch out and try one of these study spots! A change in your environment could be just the push you need to become the best student possible.