Great places to study

May 31, 2010

Because that’s why we came to college, right? With midterms fully underway and finals lingering in the distance, there’s one thing we all need to be doing, and that is studying. Where we choose to study—the atmosphere, seating arrangement, noise level, location, food or drink readily available—these aspects and so many more all matter when we choose where to settle and crack open the books. After a few years of experience, here’s some upperclassmen advice about some of the best places to study.

Norlin Library

West Entrance. This part of the library is true to its name—so shhh! For those of you who need complete silence or close to it to study, this is the place for you. From the open area on the second floor to the Norlin stacks, there are plenty of quiet places for students to spend hours with their noses in books and laptops. The only bad thing is there’s no food allowed—so either eat a big meal before, or be very sneaky. East Entrance. With the new addition of Norlin Commons, the east side of the library is the new hot spot to study. Complete with individual and group work spaces, plenty of computers, the writing center, a reading area, and The Laughing Goat coffee shop, Norlin Commons has stolen hearts all over campus. The downside? Popularity means packed, so you might have to hunt for a place to sit. But with over 15,000 square feet of study area, someone is bound to leave soon!

I'm not really the somber-library-study-cell type. I love coffee shops and study best in active environments, so when they redid Norlin and added that coffee shop vibe, I was in heaven! I love the atmosphere and how it is designed with little nooks for privacy, yet open and flowing. You can still have conversations without getting glared at, while continuing a focused attention. —Tiffany Ahern, junior


Main Area. For those who actually need a little distraction to focus, the UMC is also a good place for you. There are three large areas with tables, couches, chairs, and a few computers, surrounded by places to grab anything from a coffee, to a sandwich, to a smoothie. Most people can be seen with earbuds in, typing away with books and notebooks sprawled across the table. These areas are also great for study groups or working on group projects. Secret Study Spot. One of the best-kept secrets of great study spots is the fifth floor of the UMC. While some people are astonished there is a fifth floor of the UMC, the rest of us have already utilized the comfy couches, chairs, tables, and relaxing views to our advantage. It’s a prime nap area, so if you’re studying, make sure to keep it down. The only downside is the size of the room; it’s pretty small, so you take your chances finding a place. But it’s worth it.

I like the UMC because it’s very student-oriented, and it’s a place where I feel you can balance the social side as well as the individual side of studying. I like the window seats by the walls the best or up on the third floor. —Russell Shearer, senior

Other Places on Campus

You’re not only limited to Norlin and the UMC. There are tons of places across campus that are great study spots. Business, earth sciences, engineering, law, math/physics, and music all have their own libraries with different perks. These libraries are generally smaller but don’t have as much traffic.

I like studying in libraries that aren’t Norlin, because Norlin can be really crowded and you never know if you’re going to get a seat. I like Benson Library because there are always seats open and it’s quiet. If I’m going outside of my house to study, I like to have a guaranteed seat. —Dori Bland, junior

Off-Campus Tired of studying in these places, or just need a change of scenery? Try getting off campus. Many students swear by countless coffee shops all over the hill, Pearl Street, North Boulder, and South Boulder. Before you settle down for a study session, make sure the coffee shop has the two essentials—wireless Internet and a plug nearby.

It’s really nice to get off of campus sometimes and study somewhere else. I like studying at coffee shops because caffeine is close at hand at all times. —Taylor Roberts, junior

Remember, you don’t have to stick to one place; switching locations can revamp your brain and give you that next wave of energy. And there’s nothing wrong with using all of these places for different things. In the next few months, our priorities will quickly switch from food and sleep to favorite study spots and caffeine. These are all great places to study, but what it really comes down to is finding the place or places where you can focus and just get it done. Figuring out how and where you study best is the first step to making the grade. —Maggie Schoonmaker, Junior, School of Journalism and Mass Communication