I choose my study spots based on one of three desires: convenience, comfort, and closeness to coffee. Here are my top three study spots from each of those categories.
Three questions: Is it on the way? Is there somewhere to sit down? Is it beautiful? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, the spot made the cut.
1. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Lobby
Between classes and rehearsals, I spend anywhere between 20 and 40 hours per week at the good old Krannert Center. If I don’t have time to go back to my actual home during a break, I plop down at a table in the lobby of my second home and tackle my to-do list. I find that I’m very productive there because I am used to having only a little bit of time. One small issue: I often see my friends passing by, and because I’m easily distracted, we’ll end up chatting for longer than I necessarily should. Still, the KCPA lobby can be a great sanctuary to get some serious work done.
2. Lincoln Hall Courtyard
I do all of my best writing when I can breathe fresh air, and that’s why I love the Lincoln Hall Courtyard. I have advertising classes in both Lincoln Hall and neighboring Gregory Hall. Whenever a new project is assigned, I leave class, head to the courtyard, and get to work. Ideas flow freely in this picturesque little haven.
3. The Quad
I also retain what I read best when I’m outside. One of my favorite ways to decompress is to spread out on the grass with a good book (or with an okay textbook). The Quad is a perfect place for this, especially in the warmer months. The Quad is also fairly close to basically everything I do on campus, making it the most on-the-way place to enjoy being outside while getting stuff done.
There’s something about studying in a silent library that makes you feel smarter. The way the silence is punctuated only by other people typing on their laptops and turning pages in their textbooks is quite soothing. Libraries can also be good places to meet with your collaborators or group members for a big project. Here are my three favorite libraries.
4. Music and Performing Arts Library
Even though this library has “music” in its name, the MPAL is the quietest place on my list. It is home to a large collection of plays, scores, and books about music, dance, and theatre. I find myself lost in the shelves quite often. Time moves slowly and quickly at the same time in the Music Library, so try not to lose track (like I do).
5. Communications Library
I didn’t discover the Communications Library until late April of my sophomore year, and I’m sure glad that I found it when I did. It is home to an insane amount of resources for College of Media students. I am getting in the habit of doing advertising class homework and projects at the big round tables. When I am stuck, inspiration is only a few steps away. I can pull a random volume off of the advertising award books shelf and peruse decades of excellence. Otherwise, I can bother a fellow advertising major, because they might be stuck, too.
6. Undergraduate Library (AKA: UGL)
Even though it is mostly underground, UGL does not stand for Underground Library. I can neither confirm nor deny that it took me until the second semester of my freshman year to realize that… The UGL is a hot spot for meeting up with other undergrads to work on group projects. The big tables and limited noise restraints make it a space for discussion and together-ness. Plus, they have chess boards!
My relationship with coffee is a complicated one. First of all, I love coffee. My whole family loves coffee. As long as I am not planning on going to sleep within the next two hours, I will rarely turn down a cup o’ joe. But as much as I love spending money on fancy lattes and espresso, my wallet tries to bite my hand off every time I do. The only times I can truly justify the expense is if I am about to sit down for more that two hours and study until my face turns blue. In that case, I’ll allow myself to splurge on a delicious drink. Here are my three favorite coffee shops on campus that have both great coffee and great places to be productive.
7. Espresso Royale
Espresso Royale has at least five locations on campus, and though they are all lovely, my favorite is on the corner of Goodwin and Oregon. My favorite (and sometimes least favorite) thing about this coffee shop is that I can’t set foot inside without seeing at least three people I know. When I sit in my favorite window seat, I often see classmates and professors passing by. And as long as I’m not too absorbed in a book, I’ll wave hello. Sitting outside is also divine on a warm day.
8. Caffe Bene
Big tables, soothing music, and the best mocha latte I have ever had. I mean, seriously. That mocha tastes like a s’more in a cup, hint of campfire and all. Caffe Bene was my go-to this summer because it was usually not too crowded. That meant I could spread out my things on a large table and get to work.
9. Café Paradiso
Café Paradiso is like Espresso Royale because I often see people I know there, both studying and barista-ing. Paradiso has a delicious tomato-basil-mozzarella sandwich. Once I have dinner and coffee, I’m ready to work for hours. I enjoy reading and scoring scripts here, and my favorite spot is in the booths by the window. The place has an eclectic style and a pretty mural on the east wall. It’s the quintessential college town coffee shop, and I love it.
If you made it this far, I appreciate you! I hope you’ve found the location of your next best study session. Leave me a comment if you try one out!