As the summer comes to a close and school starts back up again, students are establishing new routines and patterns. An all new set of classes and professors means an all new set of homework requirements, and while studying is typically not at the top of students’ lists of favorite activities, it is an important part of school nevertheless.
The question then becomes one of where to study. A dorm room or apartment may seem like the easiest option, but doing homework in the same place you sleep and watch Netflix might not actually be the best plan. So where should you go? Where will you be most focused and productive?
The answer to that question varies from student to student, but places such as libraries, study lounges, coffee shops and common areas tend to be go-to locations. While typical spots such as these can be really good options, they don’t always prove to be as productive as you hoped they would be, as they tend to be filled with lots of students who would rather talk and procrastinate than actually work.
When it comes time to finally buckle down and get that studying done, it might be worthwhile to consider some more unusual study spots—places where you can focus on the work at hand instead of the constant buzz of friends and classmates. Here are some ideas for study locations you probably don’t consider on a daily basis.
1. Empty Classrooms
Do you ever wonder what happens in classrooms when there are no students filling the chairs? By this point in their educational experiences, college students are (hopefully) aware that the teachers don’t live in their classrooms, so they can pretty much guess that’s not what’s happening once class is dismissed.
Discounting any monsters that live in the rooms when faculty and students are away, though, empty classrooms are just that—empty classrooms—and they can be excellent places to study. This option takes a little thought, because the room needs to be empty for a long enough time to allow for a solid block of studying, but with a little research you could score your own personal study room for the term. Because this location requires some planning, it is a good idea to start scoping it out now, at the beginning of the year.
Keep an eye out for rooms that seem to be empty around your favorite study times—there are generally fewer classes in the evening than during the day, so that leaves plenty of options—and stake one out. Start doing some work in the back row and see how long it stays empty. Once you’ve nailed down the schedule, you have a perfect study spot for the rest of the term.
2. Local cemeteries
Admittedly, this seems a little spooky, and studying in a graveyard might get you some odd looks on occasion, but local cemeteries actually make really awesome study spots when the weather is nice. Very few people visit cemeteries on a regular basis, and the dead are usually pretty quiet, so there isn’t a lot to distract from your studying. Additionally, most cemeteries are mowed and weeded regularly, so you shouldn’t have to trek into a grassy jungle to find your peace and quiet; simply grab a blanket, lay it out in an open spot and crack open the textbooks.
One important factor to consider before setting up camp in a cemetery is the lack of internet connection. A typical cemetery isn’t going to have free wifi; if you find one that does, the world deserves to know, because zombies on smartphones could be incredibly dangerous. For the purposes of your study time, it’s best to assume an internet-less environment and come prepared ahead of time. On the positive side, this means your laptop is less likely to become a distraction, so if you’re typing, reading or studying from a textbook, you’re in great shape. If you need to use the internet, though, either make sure you have all the necessary pages preloaded or look for a different spot.
3. Study Areas in Other Departments
Lots of school buildings have study areas—lobbies and lounges specifically designed for students with lots of homework—but these are often filled with friends and peers, making actual studying difficult. Because buildings often end up oriented toward specific majors, it becomes easy and comfortable to study in the places you spend the most time in. The problem is that there’s a high chance your friends will end up in the same building, trying and failing to do their work alongside you.
As a solution to this dilemma, consider spending time in other departments’ study areas. Try out a science/engineering building, a business building or a humanities building—any place you don’t usually tend to find yourself. There will still be people around you, but they will be working on assignments that are totally different from yours, which can be a lot less distracting. Administration buildings can also be great spots, especially if they have comfy central areas, and chances are your friends won’t spend too much time coming in and out of administrative offices. The styles and layouts of buildings will vary from school to school, but all campuses should have various central areas specifically designed for studying.
Another factor to consider when trying to decide which building to make your own is how recently the building was constructed. If a department just built a multi-million dollar building, that might be a great place to spend your time. It will be new, clean and designed to stimulate learning, which could be incredibly beneficial for studying. On the other hand, if a constant buzz of people is distracting, you may want to consider an older building with fewer people moving in and out. It’s all a matter of finding what works best for you and taking ownership of the new space. Whichever place you decide to study, claim it and make it your own. As you become more comfortable in your location, you are bound to become more productive.