In search of the ideal study spot

It has been almost three weeks since we have come back to school, and the readings and assignments have wasted no time piling up on my desk.

I like to work at school, and I find that having the perfect place to study and work is the key factor to success. After asking quite a few of my friends where their favourite place to study at on campus is, I received a jumble of responses listing places like science libraries I have never heard of, Elizabeth Dafoe Library, and the ever popular, “I don’t study.”

However, the same three factors came up in almost every response. When I asked why these are good places to study, the answers of comfy chairs, lots of windows, and laptop plugs became the holy trinity for any study area.

After hearing my friends list these three things, I realized that I also look for the same things wherever I set up camp. Obviously you want to be comfortable while sitting on your ass for an extended period of time, so comfy chairs are a must.

Windows prevent a prison-esque atmosphere by letting what is quite possibly the only daylight we will see all day stream in, as well as providing people watching as a welcome distraction. And plugs, well, they are just a must these days. I can’t have my laptop dying right in the middle of watching TV online — I mean writing my essay.

Once you scope out a place that looks appealing, the next decision you need to make is what noise level you are comfortable with.

Are you one of those people who can just tune out everything around you or do you like just a little hum of activity? And then there’s the option of complete silence, and you know which kind I’m talking about. There are those places that if you breathe especially deeply, glares start shooting from all corners of the room. Heaven forbid you sneeze or cough; you might as well have walked in clanging cymbals and shouting “I like noise!” for all the stink-eyes you’d receive.

I refer to this type of complete silence as “scary silence syndrome” (SSS) and I try to avoid it as best I can . . . I enjoy breathing and studying at the same time.

The good thing about places like Dafoe or the science libraries are that they have an option for everyone.

The main floor is good for those needing to do group work or people meeting up on a spare to “study”; this is often the case with first floors of libraries. With the addition of Starbucks in Dafoe, the main floor is always bustling and smells of coffee related products. If you’re like me, and this annoys you, you may want to try the second or third floors.

Once upon a time, the Icelandic Reading Room on the third floor of Dafoe was my place of choice to study. It has the aforementioned holy trinity, the bad thing is that it closes at 4:30 and tends to suffer from the scary silence syndrome I mentioned earlier. However, from what I understand, only students doing Icelandic research are allowed to reserve tables in there now, so you may be out of luck on that one unless you happen to be studying Icelandic.

The second floor, however, provides a happy medium between the louder tendencies of the first and the SSS of the third floor. Basically every library has the same tiered set up, with the loudest, fullest floor on the bottom and getting emptier (and consequently quieter) the higher you go. Take what you will from that and choose your floor accordingly!

If you have yet to bunker down in your place of choice for the semester, let me provide you with a few places that have been suggested to me, and places I already go.

If you want somewhere that you can talk at a normal volume and perhaps even let out a chuckle if the mood should strike (I know, shocking), try the University Centre, either the main floor or upstairs in IQ’s.

I like IQ’s in the evening, after 5 p.m. or so. There is more room to sit, lots of computers to use, and drinks/snacks are right there if you want them. Playing a game of pool is also a nice distraction if need be.

If you like the gentle hum of voices while hitting the books, try the St. Paul’s cafeteria, especially after the lunch time hours. They have big round tables to spread out all your books and papers, and lots of plugs for laptops.

A good quiet place is the Law Library or St. John’s. Both places provide the ever-coveted comfy chairs, window seats, and laptop plugs. This combined with a relatively small traffic flow creates the perfect place for anyone preferring a more subdued environment.

So whether you prefer your studying with a cup of Starbucks or with a side of silence, there are lots of places on campus that will suit you just right. Happy studying!