Best Place to Study
Published: October 3, 2017 by Priscilla Ameneyro
You’ll spend countless hours studying for your degree, so you might as well study somewhere that you’re comfortable and will allow you to get the most out of your time. Armed with a laptop and my powers of observation, I set out to discover the best place to study. I also spoke to several of my iSchool classmates in INFO 244 about where they like to study and what their ideal study environment looks like. Here’s what I found out:
I’ve turned my whole house into my home office. You can find me working with my laptop on the couch or sitting up in bed. I even installed an anti-glare screen protector so I can take my laptop outside and work in the yard. I’m also lucky enough to have a spare bedroom turned home office, so for those times that I really need to concentrate, I can shut the door and get to work. My peers agreed with me; we like to have options and move around, and the “desk is for when I really need to focus” commented MLIS student Jennifer Waskey. “The only thing that would make studying at home better,” said Jennifer, “is having food available that I don’t have to cook!”
I do tend to be the most productive when I’m sitting at my desk with the door closed. If that’s not an option for you, you can still create a dedicated work space within another room. You could even get some screen dividers to make it more private and send a ‘do not disturb’ message to your family or room-mates. You don’t have to feel “chained to the desk” either, School of Information student Rebecca Heine prefers a bistro sized table and Laura Manning is a fan of big tables as she likes “having [her] tools around [her].”
Working from home is definitely the best option for comfort; you’re in complete control of the temperature, your ergonomic setup, and lighting. You’re only an arm’s length away from the fridge. And if playing rock music really loud helps you study, then hey, crank up the volume. SJSU iSchool student Carolyne Alsop pointed out another big benefit, “you can study in your PJs!” On the other hand, there’s constant reminders all around you. Caitlin McLean, an MLIS student, also enjoys studying at home, but admits she can sometimes get distracted by her “husband, cats, and the TV!” If it gets too much, it’s time to venture out into the world and try one of the following alternative study spaces.
When asked to describe their dream study space, several students mentioned being surrounded by books; I know a place where there are a lot of books! Laura thinks “academic libraries are ideal as it can be hard to find plugs in public libraries.” She recommends not leaving home without your headphones to block out distractions. The pluses of studying at the library are that it’s free, you have immediate access to resources, and there’s a sense of community as you work alongside other students.
Several students that I spoke to enjoy studying in a coffee shop from time to time. While you might be shelling out $5 for a latte each time, it’s another place where you’ll find like-minded individuals. A couple of my peers are advocates for Panera Bread®! As well as delicious bread, apparently the bakery boasts WiFi, good lighting, plenty of seating, and welcoming staff who “won’t kick you out after four hours when all you’ve ordered is an iced tea!” said MLIS student Julie Sweeney.
Some coffee shops, bookstores, and co-working spaces have started to serve alcohol. SJSU School of Information student Mychal Threets finds studying at local breweries to be the best option as being at home means he’ll end up watching Netflix instead. Mychal’s dream study space though, would be “in a hammock amongst the wilderness but somehow there’s also a strong internet connection.”
Speaking of nature, it was a comfortable 80 degrees on the day I chose to study at the park near my house. There was a fresh breeze and the birds were chirping. Which all led to a pleasant experience doing some reading. However, I can see some major potential downfalls to studying at the park. First of all, if it’s not a comfortable 80 degrees, you might want to stay inside. Then there’s the kids playing and making lots of noise, the danger of bugs or other creatures invading your space, and the very real threat of a ball flying at your head. Plus you’ll have to figure out your own WiFi (hotspot anyone?)
At the end of the day, it’s important to find the right environment for you so you can be as productive as possible. Take a moment to analyze your go-to study space and see if there is anything you can do to improve it. Or why not try out a new place to study?
Your turn: tell us where you think the best place to study is and why.