Coffee Shop Studying Etiquette

Blog Picture Cafe Paradiso


This picture is from Spring 2015 finals, when I visited Cafe Paradiso in Urbana at 7 am on a Saturday morning to grab my favorite studying booth.

As the first Midterm season dwindles to a close, students are finally recovering from their first round of exams on campus and taking the weekend off to relax. Or, if you’re like me and the grind never stops, then you’ll probably find yourself in a library or coffee shop somewhere around Champaign-Urbana hunched over a laptop clacking away. Lately, I’ve been finding myself studying less in libraries (once so serene for me, now a cesspool of stress – a STRESSPOOL, if you will) and more in local coffee shops. I have found that the background noise has been conducive to my concentration and that the ambience levels are just perfect for me. However, just as there are *unofficial* rules to studying in a library (I remember making a post about how I sat next to a guy in the library who took off his shoes and socks to study!), there are also guidelines to studying in a coffee shop.

Here are some of my coffee shop studying etiquette rules:

1. Don’t be a “laptop hobo”This is an old article, but I recently came across it this summer while working on some blog post ideas. The most important etiquette rule about studying in coffee shops is to actually purchase an item instead of simply mooching off of the free wifi that coffee shops have to offer, hence the term “laptop hobo”. Libraries don’t require you to make purchases, but studying in a coffee shop where food and drink are promoted is a different environment. As a Gold card holder in Starbucks’ rewards system, I am entitled to free refills on drinks as long as I am staying in the store. I usually purchase a hot tea or black coffee (depending on how serious my workload is), and proceed to get refills every couple of hours, and can give back to the place that is providing me with a perfect studying environment!

2. Noise galore – I haven’t had issues with noise levels in coffee shops, especially since I’m the one seeking out this environment. However, realize that the coffee shop environment will be a lot more noisy than a quiet section of a library. Therefore, if you’re a person who hates background noise and needs absolute silence to study, save yourself the aggravation and pick a quieter place to help you learn your material. If you’re looking to simulate the environment, Coffitivity is one of my favorite websites to help me work in that coffee shop feel without leaving my room.

3. Headphones, please! – Just because you’re working in a place where conversation is permitted and not regulated, it doesn’t mean that you should blast your “Let’s Study!” playlist without headphones or stream those calculus lectures for everyone to hear. Please do everyone a favor and listen to your audio quietly! One of my most hated pet peeves is when people have a full conversation in a public place, like a bus or coffee shop, on speaker phone. I experienced a student at a neighboring table at a coffee shop watching Youtube videos at full volume on his cell phone. But I wasn’t the only one annoyed, as the coffee shop employees eventually asked him to either use headphones or leave the store. Stay respectful, everyone!

I love a good coffee shop study session, mainly because I’m able to eat food while studying at the same time! I will never say no to a good blueberry scone!

Happy Midterming, everyone!




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