The Optimal Study Space

By Michelle Naim 

Having trouble finding your study spot?  You know, your spot. The spot you go to when you just need to zero in on the task at hand and forget everything else. There’s so many to choose from– the Gottesman Library on the Wilf Campus, Starbucks, Pret A Manger, the Beren Campus library, your dorm room, the comfort of your bed, and even Bryant Park. Well, the time has finally come to really buckle down and find it. Here we go, let’s lay it all out:

The Uptown Library: Although it’s a long trek to get there, the uptown library has a lot of seating, resources, and options in terms of study environment. You can sit on the 2nd floor where the vibe is more relaxed– there may be a study group going on, or different club heads meeting. The fourth floor of the uptown library, however, is a great place to go if you enjoy a very quiet environment while you get to work.  People around you are also studying, which keeps you motivated to stay focused. Another great thing about the uptown library are the great resources all around you. Looking for a book about a remote Indian tribe in Zimbabwe? Look no further. The books in the library are at your disposal. The unfortunate downside is for those of you who enjoy snacking while studying: it is prohibited to eat here. And probably the worse quality of the uptown library is that you can feel the anxiety in the air. When midterms or finals are near, everyone is on the edge of their seats, and the anxiety around you can really shift and effect your energy and mood. Lastly, if you like a little chitter chatter and music to be the background noise of your study sesh, chances are the library isn’t for you.


The Downtown Library: I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I go to the Beren Campus library during midterms or finals, there is never a place to sit. But, there are also some positives to Beren’s libraries–in addition to having great resources like getting daily newspapers delivered, it is close to home if you live in any of the four dorms on the Beren campus.


Dorm Room/ Bed: Sign me up for a night of relaxation in my favorite pajamas with a hot cup of tea in my hands! This is what you could be doing if you choose to study in the comfort of your own room. Hungry? Eat whatever you want whenever you want, an impossibility if you choose to study in the library because you can’t eat there at all. Plus, the best part is that you control the environment—too cold? Put on a sweatshirt. Too hot? Open a window. Too loud? Ask your roommates to be quieter or put in your earbuds. But, it can get really lonely in the seclusion of your own dorm room. Research also reveals that doing your homework/ studying on your bed increases sleepiness because your brain is wired to associate your bed with sleep. And, if you’re anything like me, the moment you enter your dorm room, you begin to clean everything. This can be a problem if you try to distract yourself from what really needs to get done.


Coffee Shop: Our last stop is the coffee shop– this could be anything from Starbucks to Pret A Manger. This is the perfect place for you if you like having some background noise to your study time. It can be great if it’s time for a change of scenery from your old dorm room or Stern library, or when you’re ready to just get out there. You know, one of those days you wear something other than pajamas. Warning though, it can be really easy to break the bank if you purchase that ice coffee we all know you love too often. Also remember a coffee shop is a public space– people come in there to do all sorts of things such as interview for a job, grab coffee with a friend or co-worker, or even to just use the facilities. With the diversity of reasons people come to these coffee shops, keep in mind it can become easily distracting if you need to be laser focused on something.
Well, there you have it folks! Hopefully, you now have a better picture of the different places you can get ready for those midterms (T-minus 3 weeks to go!) Whether it be in the uptown or downtown libraries, your own room or bed, or a local coffee shop, my blessing to all of you is that you find your spot.

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