Written by Reese Grayson.

Images by Reese Grayson.

Like many students, I have never been a fan of studying in high-traffic workspaces such as the PCL, the SAC, or the Union. Cafés located off campus pose a similar issue—nothing is worse than driving or taking the bus all the way to a coffee shop and finding that all of  the tables and outlets are occupied. In my search for new places to study that would spice up my life as a full-time student, I sought out nontraditional outdoor and indoor areas that were calming and easily accessible.

Sarah M. Charles E. Seay Building

This was by far my most novel find during my search. Home to multiple psychology labs, the SEA has a unique outdoor seating deck that offers seclusion, away from the rest of campus. Looking at the building from Dean Keaton, you would not be able to see it.

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However, if you walk around the building, you will find an impressive outdoor space with a large tree right in the middle. Surprisingly, I did not see a single person while studying here. I know I will frequent this place when the weather gets warmer and that beautiful tree in the center starts blooming.

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Albert P. Brogan Reading Room

Located on the third floor of Waggener Hall, the Albert P. Brogan Reading Room is a calming space that features an impressive collection of philosophical texts. If you like the aesthetic of the Architecture Library but think it is too crowded at times, this is a good alternative.

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Unfortunately, the hours are 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, so you won’t be pulling any all-nighters here. But every time I have gone to this reading room to study, there’s been a place to work, as most students aren’t aware of its existence.

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Joynes Reading Room

Located in the back of Carothers, the Joynes Reading Room is the space on campus where I am the most productive.

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Offering custom-built furniture and a compilation of carefully selected books and magazines, including hundreds of editions of The New Yorker, the area also houses study rooms that can be booked for group study sessions. Although relatively small, this space is intellectually stimulating and feels cozier than places like the PCL or SAC.

Battle Hall Nook

At the foot of the stairs leading to the Architecture Library there are two tables and chairs that are designated for studying. Because people mainly come to this building for the Architecture Library, these tables are usually empty.

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The space is a nook that wraps under the staircase and features a bookcase of architectural artifacts that gives off plenty of lighting. There is also a vending machine adjacent to the tables for those in need of caffeine while studying late into the night.

Mary E. Gearing Hall

The outside seating area at the Mary E. Gearing Hall has tables to sit at that give you an amazing view of the Main Tower.

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The location and simplicity of this space is what makes it special. The building offers plenty of shade to sit in, but if you’re working on your tan, there are just as many spots available for bathing in the sunlight. Overall, if you want to see people and feel connected to campus while studying, this spot is worth trying.

Eden and Hal Box Courtyard in Goldsmith Hall

I stumbled across this surprisingly relaxing space when I was looking for the Architecture Library. Outside the Architecture building, there is a courtyard with numerous benches that get ample sunlight. This certainly is not a place to go for long study sessions, but it is worth stopping by for half an hour in between classes.

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Balcony of Mezes & Batts Halls

In between Mezes & Batts Halls, there is an open balcony with plenty of tables and chairs that face the lawn.

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Although accessible to students, I rarely see people studying here. This spot is relatively secluded, while also being right on the famous six-pack.

Lower Mezes Hall

Located on the South Mall, on the 1st floor of Mezes hall are several cornered tables and chairs. Although not as eclectic as other spaces on this list, it is still a relatively quiet place worth checking out when killing time between your many Liberal Arts classes that meet in the six-pack.

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Personally, I like to frequent the classrooms in Burdine. Mainly because there are a ridiculous number of vending machines scattered throughout the building, and that gives me a lot of options when it comes to choosing the ideal caffeinated beverage.

Plus, when I was looking for places to study in here, there was a shocking number of unlocked classrooms that weren’t being used. Interestingly, an empty classroom can be one of the best places to study, especially when you really need to concentrate. They’re usually quiet, and they offer solitude if you’re looking to get away from crowded study spots on the 40 Acres.

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