Studying is something I’ve always seen as doing while locked in my room, sitting at my desk, and suffering in silence (or loudly if the task was particularly frustrating). That’s how I basically lived during my first semester at the University of Massachusetts. But then one day I got an email from the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH) about tips to combat midterm stress, and how to stay on top of our mental well-being. One of those tips was to find a place to study other than my room. I was shaken. I don’t know why, but the thought of studying someplace other than my room was so far out it had never occurred to me until then.
But I took the advice, and I headed to the Campus Center to do some reading, and boy was my life changed from that moment on. I eventually came to realize that studying in my room was probably the worst thing for my productivity, because my room, aside from its practical uses, has always been the place where I go when I’m feeling anxious. It’s no wonder that trying to study—a historically anxiety inducing task—in my room wasn’t working. My room was a designated space to calm down, so I needed to find a designated space to study, just like I do for eating and exercising.
And so, I set out on a quest to find the perfect studying spots at UMass, and this is where my travels took me.
Located across from University Health Services (UHS) and near the Life Sciences buildings, Durfee Conservatory is and will forever be my favorite place on campus. It’s quiet, it’s warm there even if it’s cold outside, and it’s like a little isolation pod from the busy life on campus. Durfee is a fantastic place to do readings, but also to meditate, or just sit down and think. My favorite thing about Durfee is that it’s like a tropical paradise even during the winter, so you can feel extra cozy while you work on homework. If you have a particularly difficult task for a class, head to Durfee and think it through there — sans the distraction of life on campus.
Learning Commons at the Library
The Learning Commons, also known as the basement of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, is one my favorite places to study and work on homework. It’s in the library, so have that intellectual environment (and tons of resources), but it’s also less intensely quiet than other floors. I’m the kind of person that gets distracted from too much silence, so the Learning Commons provides the perfect buzz for me to concentrate. If that’s the type of environment you need for learning, the Learning Commons is the place for you. The Library is also open 24 hours most days, so you can go whenever is most convenient for you, and stay for as long as you need to.
Integrative Learning Center (ILC) ground floor
The ground floor at the ILC is a favorite among students, and not without reason. There are plenty of comfy places to take a seat and study whatever you need, and Peet’s Coffee is right there to offer extra fuel for those long study sessions. The ILC is also one of those places where the environment is not packed with stress and anxiety.
Although a little noisy, the Campus Center can be a great place to do readings. It’s open until 12, so you can stay until late, and you have the option to get some food to power through those 60-page readings. The Campus Center is also a less stress-packed environment, making a prime spot for a reading session.
Not many people enjoy studying, but if you pick the right place to do it, I can guarantee that the task will become a thousand times more bearable. And remember, your bedroom is supposed to be your own stress-free space where you can lie down and forget about the outside world for a little bit. So, ditch that bedroom desk, and go find your perfect studying spot at UMass Amherst!