• Abbie Tibbott

Rating Campus Study-Spots

Here’s a fun one to get you through a mid-week slump. You may have already found your favourite study spot, but here’s my ratings of places on campus. The end of term is rapidly approaching, so it’s time to get those essays written!


 

The Library


Rating: 7/10


The basic study location of all universities is of course the library, and your campus may have more than one. For a history student, I’m always in there for the books, but I like the library to study in too when I need some real focus. Since becoming a postgraduate, I’m quite snobby about the noise level of where I’m working, and the quiet working areas aren’t particularly quiet. The way my library arranges their study spaces also means that when it’s busy, people will circulate past you looking for a space, like a car trying to get a spot in the multi-story on the Saturday before Christmas.


Weekends are a great time to go, and I feel that everyone else who is there on a Saturday and Sunday is really focused, so it's a nice environment if I need to catch up.


There is a café, which means that I don’t have to leave the building on horrible winter days. There are a decent number of toilets too, and staff are super friendly and helpful. My biggest gripe is when students block up seats to sit and watch Netflix. Maybe I’m just getting old, but the silent floor isn’t the place to watch Sex Education while you’re procrastinating your impending essay deadline.


I only really sit on the silent floor nowadays, maybe I am just old.


 

Coffee Shops


Rating: 5/10


Now don’t get me wrong, I really do like the idea of romanticising my studying by grabbing a skinny gingerbread latte and working on my essay. However, my experiences of working in a coffee shop are usually more chaotic. There’s getting a good seat, choosing a drink that’s going to last you a decent amount of time, as well as the dilemma of what to do with your stuff if you have to use the toilet. Honestly, the whole ordeal is more trouble than it’s worth, but the vibes are immaculate.


When you’re with friends however, my rating would probably go up a point, as you can watch each other’s stuff and feel like you’re in a bad rom-com. People watching is fun, but I’d recommend avoiding really busy locations, as they tend to be pretty loud. Around Christmas, coffee shops are completely inaccessible for most of the weekend, and I tend to avoid large crowds of people anyway (thanks pandemic), so I only really use the coffee places in town if I'm meeting a friend later on.


The coffee locations on campus are pretty decent, and I've spent quieter afternoons (Wednesdays and Fridays) working on emails and planning essays. I don't think I've ever actually done any major academic work in the campus Starbucks, but it works for admin tasks. Again, at lunchtimes it just becomes a living nightmare, so coffee shops still aren't my first choice.


 

Bedroom


Rating: 4/10


This might not technically be on campus, but it still sucks. The temptation to crawl into bed is just simply too strong on a cold winter day, and I’ve lost many afternoons to a cosy nap after lunch. If you live with other people, there’s always the temptation to pop over for a chat, which can often lead to a two-hour discussion and a takeaway. In my mind, the only bonuses lie in the fact that you’re at home, so there’s no pressure to dress up or make lunch.


When the weather is really bad, I’ll give in and study at home, but it’s never the productive day I want it to be. The exception to the rule is online meetings, as in my opinion, there’s nothing more embarrassing while trying to participate in an online session whilst you’re in public.


 

Study Rooms


Rating: 9/10


Ironically, I’m writing this blog from a small room used by postgraduates in the department. It’s a little drafty on a windy day, but there’s good WIFI, plenty of plug sockets and a café about a minute’s walk away. Sometimes the library is just too busy and I don’t feel like arriving at 8.30am just to find a decent seat. Study rooms may be smaller, but they’re generally not well-used, so it almost feels like I have a personal office.


Due to Covid, I can’t have my own office this year, so any opportunity to study in a quiet, dedicated space is always welcome. It can get a little lonely at times, but honestly I cherish the peace and quiet after fighting through the Freshers to get some obscure library books. As it’s quite secluded, I also don’t feel any pressure to go to any great effort with my clothing choices, which is a relief when I need to do some laundry.

 

Empty Classrooms


Rating: 7/10


At my university, if a room has no class timetabled then we are free to use it, which is especially useful around undergraduate exam season. My campus is big, and there is a handy website which shows you empty rooms you can use. Some will only be free for an hour, but many will be free all morning or after 2pm, which is ideal if I come onto campus later. They’re nice and quiet, and are ideal places to have a meeting if you have a group project.


There is always the chance you’ll have to share the room though, as other students will be hunting for empty classrooms as well. Sometimes a big group will arrive and be super noisy, so I have to find somewhere else. Some days of the week are busier than others, and it can be annoying to have to get up and move multiple times.


 

Outside


Rating: 3/10


We’ve all seen students outside with their laptops plastered across prospectuses, but in all honesty, working outside is something that you can only do for a few months a year. In the summer months, campus is busy with students celebrating, and a field full of students drinking cider isn’t the ideal revision environment in my opinion. The British weather means half the time it’s raining, and half the time the grass is still wet from when it rained last. If it is sunny, chances are that you didn’t pack sun cream when you moved to campus in September, so you’ll end up sunburnt too.


My campus has a lake running through the middle, so there’s geese chasing you, random cats (although I do love them), loads of insects and the chance of being mown down by a cyclist or lawnmower. All in all, I love to sit outside and socialise, but there’s no way you’ll catch me with my laptop in the middle of a field anytime soon.


 

I hope a bit of this brought a smile to your face, especially if deadlines are looming. Know that the end of semesters are always a bit frantic, but the last few weeks will fly by. If you have January deadlines, do try to do as much work as you can before you head home, so you can give yourself a nice break.


Happy studying!