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Study Spots: Campus’ Best and Worst

Mary Claire O'Donnell | Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just as Jack Frost is finally beginning to nip at our noses, so too are finals starting to bite at our heels. They are looming over our heads, and the idea of studying for them is daunting. To help out, the following is a list of the three best and the two worst study spots on campus. Criteria include proximity to caffeine and sugary snacks, potential for distraction and comfort. Let’s just hope these spots don’t fill up the night before your big Orgo exam.

BEST

1. Library Window Seats
These are some of the best study spots on campus. The library is a quiet place to work with little to distract you from your studies, unless you bring your computer and leave Sporcle open. Also, by snagging one of the window seats, you do not feel stuck inside a cement prison, forced to study until your eyes bleed. Instead, when you find yourself stumped or just completely overwhelmed, you can take a calming breath and just look out across the beautiful Notre Dame campus. Furthermore, you can stop by the Huddle on your way over for some caffeinated beverages and candy to sustain yourself throughout the night. A word of advice, though: grab these spots early, as they fill up quickly, even though there are a few on each floor.

2. LaFortune Booths Behind Subway
These spots are excellent alternatives if all the window seats fill up. The booths are far enough away from the hustle and bustle of LaFortune, affording studiers a level of isolation conducive to extreme focus. Also, the seats offer the easiest access to caffeine, sugar and other delicious food than any other study locale. If you live on West or South Quad, the shorter walk is also very appealing. The noise, however, is unavoidable, but an iPod loaded with classical Christmas songs will drown out the noise, improve your studying and put you in the right mood for Friday when you head home for the holidays.

3. Mendoza Commons
Mendoza provides a terrific alternative to LaFortune. There are many comfortable study areas inside the building, from small tables under the stairs to couches in the Business Information Center (BIC). As Mendoza lies further away from the dorms than other buildings available for study, it will most likely have less occupants to create noise.  There is, however, the longer walk to contemplate. Also, the café closes at 5 p.m., so remember to bring snacks from home.

WORST

1. The Futon In Your Dorm Room
Despite the immense comfort your futon or couch gives you, studying on it may not be your best idea. Unfortunately, it is the comfort itself that will lead to your studying downfall. Inevitably, in your sleep-deprived state, you will curl up, declare you are only going to nap for 20 minutes, set your phone alarm and close your eyes. Two-plus hours later you will wake up to find that, contrary to popular belief, sleeping on your “History of the Roman People” textbook will not help you absorb facts about Augustus’s evolution of the Republic into the Principate. Valuable study time will have been lost. Furthermore, unless you illegally set up a coffee maker or hot water heater in your room, caffeine will be out of easy reach. Overall, the opportunity cost of comfort is not worth the hours of studying you will lose.

2. Any 24-hour Lounge
The PDA you will undoubtedly witness in these lounges negates any of their advantages. After parietals, these areas are full of couples studying, playing games or watching movies. The sweet nothings you will hear floating through the air may sicken you.  General rule, just avoid the area if you are not one of those couples.