Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

As the end of the semester approaches, everything becomes overwhelmed with studying: the libraries stay open for 24 hours a day, friends change their cover photos to appropriately distressed images, and Done-Is-Good teas flood hallways with crafts, crying, and candy. Fellow students will robotically list all of the things they have to complete in the coming weeks whenever spoken to, and if you dare to ask how they’re doing, most will emit a strange, garbled laugh that somehow combines the words tired, stressed, and dying. As I, too, am trapped in the onslaught of exams, projects, and papers–oh my!–I thought I’d not procrastinate at all and do a comprehensive rating of the places I study on campus. This doesn’t cover every possible study location, as I’ve never set foot in the science library and a number of other potential study spots, but I hope it helps if anyone else finds themselves wondering where they should even begin to work–literally.

IMG_1321Carpenter Library

pros: general atmosphere of studiousness, lots of different areas to study in, natural light during the day, gorgeous

cons: can get easily overcrowded, most people I know study here which can be distracting

I have an embarrassing number of selfies taken in carpenter with friends.

I have an embarrassing number of selfies taken in Carpenter with friends.

Carpenter Library is definitely my favorite “official” place to study–I feel like I’m more productive here than anywhere else, and a huge amount of my time at Bryn Mawr has been spent here. I actually wrote my “why Bryn Mawr” supplemental essay about Carpenter Library–I loved the design (meant to reflect an architectural dig) and the legend about the building that supposedly it has so much natural light because students were asked what they wanted to see in a new library. I appreciated that the college hadĀ involved students in the design process for such a building that represents such a key element of the college life. But the library can get crowded very quickly–it’s fairly small, and it’s technically the graduate students’ library, so you’re not only competing with your fellow undergrads for space. As for those fellow undergrads, I am pretty easily distracted, as evidenced by the numerous photoshoots I’ve had with friends in the library. Overall, I’d definitely recommend Carp for all your study needs–but I’ll never tell which table is my favorite. Can’t risk losing it!

IMG_3608Canaday Library

pros: lots of printers, usually pretty quiet, people seem to be working hard

cons: I still can’t figure out how to get around, extremely creepy at night

I firmly believe that where people study tells you more about them than what they’re actually studying. The Canaday vs Carpenter debate will probably rage on for eternity, but I personally cannot get anything done in Canaday. I find all of the upper levels to be creepy, empty, and depressing, and the first floor is always packed full of people.While I have been able to get work done in Canaday, I just don’t like it, and don’t feel as productive when I work there. Though I do like that they have far more computers for when I need to print things out.

IMG_4997My Room

pros: everything I need, without leaving my bed

cons: my bed

Dragging everything I could possibly need around with me doesn’t always seem like the best course of action–with notebooks, folders, chargers, textbooks, my laptop, and a host of other necessities, it’s really quite tempting to just stay in my room and study. There’s a desk there for a reason, after all. The only problem is that I don’t really use that desk–I tend to curl up in bed, getting all cozy and not really getting into a work mindset. In public study places, it’s harder to waste hours at a time on social media, solitaire, or watching music videos. But I also really like being able to get work done while not wearing pants and eating snacks.


my friends Leyla and Sara often let me do work in their room

A Friend’s Room

pros: not responsible for the space, friends have usable desks, getting to spend time with friends while getting things done

cons: friends

kind of hard to do work when your friends just want to sleep

kind of hard to do work when your friends just want to sleep

Working in a friend’s room has many of the benefits of working in my room with the added benefit of having outside reinforcement to keep me on track with my work. I also enjoy not being shut away in my room if I’m committing to hours of studying–it’s definitely healthier to be around other people. But the same risks of working around other people still apply: if Leyla is watching 30 Rock and playing solitaire while Sara is skyping a friend from home, I’m probably going to start painting my nails instead of working on my assignments.

studying on Rhoads porch

Outside studying on Rhoads porch

pros: gorgeous setting, fresh air, Rhoads porch has outlets

cons: most outdoor study areas aren’t computer-friendly, it’s REALLY COLD

getting some use out of my somewhat hideous picnic blanket

getting some use out of my somewhat hideous picnic blanket

I’m a big fan of studying outside. When the weather’s right, it can be a lovely break from the monotony of dorm, class, library. The back porch of Rhoads, where I live, is equipped with outlets next to the tables which are perfect for spreading out to get stuff done. I also love to get takeout boxes (or even splurge on delivery!) with friends and treat ourselves to a study picnic on Carpenter Beach or next to Serenity (the unofficial name of that tree outside Rockefeller). Unfortunately, with the sun setting around the time we get out of class and the temperatures dropping steadily, I’ll probably have to save this for finals week next semester when it’s warm again.

through the study window

The London Room through the study window

pros: studious atmosphere, isolated, comfortable couches

cons: the bathroom is REALLY far away, often reserved for events

The London Room is a little nook on the second floor of Thomas that often hosts a capella concerts, department teas, and my late-night panicked studying/essay-writing sessions. It’s essentially a smaller version of the Quita Woodward Room on the first floor–another little nook full of books and chairs–except that it has desks and isn’t associated with a campus legend that prohibits the completion of academic work within its walls (allegedly, if you do work in the Quita Woodward Room, the ghost of Quita will haunt you until you drop out of school). I quite like the London Room, as it has a studious atmosphere without being full of distracting people, and the window into the room keeps me on my toes about staying focused (I am fueled by outside judgement, apparently). Unfortunately, it’s pretty small, so if someone else is already working in there, they’re probably using the only outlet. It’s also as far as possible from the only bathroom in Thomas while still being in the same building.

That’s probably enough for one post–even though I feel like I’ve only covered about half of the places I’ve studied in! Where are your favorite places to study? Any important ones that you feel like I’ve missed? Want to fight me about which library is the best? Tell me about it in the comments while you’re totally not procrastinating on whatever it is you have to do. Good luck, and remember: done is so, so good.

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