Convenience, caffeine and comfort — the top 10 places to study for finals

Locate your study spot with a perfect blend of light, aura and atmosphere.

By Rashi Shrivastava | May 2, 2017

Tags: Finals

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Diligence and deadlines aside, effective studying has another crucial prerequisite — the perfect study spot. We all have several terms and conditions that apply to us actually sitting down and getting some work done — the right lighting, a motivational aura and a silence that falls somewhere between the two extremes — instead of dozing off or getting distracted.

With finals week just around the corner, we find ourselves in dire need of a quiet place where we can be one with our books. Whether you like studying indoors or outdoors, or if you are a group study person or a self-study kind, Columbia has the best pick for you. Here is a list of the top 10 places you can consider to get through this spring’s exam marathon.

1. Ellis Library — Silent section

Ellis has seen many students plow through rough days and nights typing away and brainstorming. While some sections allow more freedom in terms of having conversations with a group of people, the silent section at Ellis is your golden key if you really need to focus. Think of the ancient Buddhist practice of the “Vow of Silence” when you come here. This place is the definition of pin-drop silence. The best part is that studying here is extremely productive. If you need a break, you can also swing by for coffee at the Bookmark Café

2. Memorial Union — Bengal Lair

Memorial Union is much less intense in terms of silence. However, it makes up for the noise with comfort and food. When you see Wheatstone Bistro and Starbucks standing next to each other and the lounge area in front of Stotler Lounge, all spongy and soft and inviting you in, it is like a dream come true. You can refuel and relax for a bit and then hit the books with all you’ve got.

3. MizzouRec

Not many people are aware of the secluded sections of MizzouRec where students can comfortably sit and get work done. One thing I love about studying at the Rec is that you can have a quick workout then study with an extremely focused mind. After a long, exhausting day, the steam room works like a magical masseuse. A focused mind and a relaxed body are tools of the trade during finals week.

4. Student Center

Convenience, coffee, comfort — the Student Center has it all.

The Student Center is more like a furniture store that anything else. It offers all types of seating arrangements. The first floor has booths and regular tables for short-term, modest study needs. If you are looking for a more extravagant and laid-back experience, you can head up to the second floor to the spacious lounges where it is relatively quieter. There is also a spacious lower lounge, where you can set up camp for a while.

Perks of studying at the Student Center is Mort’s, which is open until 10 p.m., and Infusion, which is open until 9 p.m. These make it easy to grab a late bite or get caffeinated late in the evening. Another thing I like about the Student Center is that it is located at the heart of campus, which makes it easier to reach classes in time.

5. Apartment/Residence Hall

At the end of the day, nothing can top the privacy and comfort of home. Nocturnal beings can relate when I say that at 2 a.m., no place is as warm, convenient and accessible as your study table or a bean bag at your bedside. For many people, in fact, the most serious studying is done in their apartments or dorm rooms, where there is no disturbance or penetration from the outside world.

6. Peace Park

The name says it all. If you have a stack of reading to do and you need the right “reading feels,” this is the best place for you. Peace Park, located right in front of the Columns, is one of the most beautiful parks on campus. Even though it is small in size, the aura is rejuvenating. The benches by the stream are the perfect spot for a good read, or even quiet study.

7. Student Success Center

Practically speaking, acing a test isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It’s more like practice and practice. Glitches tend to barricade the already treacherous journey toward a good GPA. In times like these, I find that a helping hand can make a huge difference. The Student Success Center is a great place to study not only because you can find tutors to help you, but you can also meet other students who are in the same boat as you. The Writing Center is a fairy godmother that materializes to save your paper from drowning in poor writing skills.

8. Lakota Coffee

A plethora of coffee shops located downtown offer a caffeine-laden, soft music and cozy study experience for students who prefer studying off campus. Lakota Coffee is one of them. It is located on South Ninth Street and is open until midnight, perfect for a late-night cram session.

9. Catalyst Cafe

I cannot stress enough how great a place this café is to study for a couple of hours between classes. Located on the ground floor of the Bond Life Sciences Center, the Catalyst Cafe is a bit underrated, probably because it isn’t open for very long. Nevertheless, apart from the great food, this café is quiet, small and less-known, which makes it a great study spot, especially for students who have classes in the building.

10. Memorial Union to Chemistry Building route

Are you the rare type of person who likes to walk and study? If you are, then this is a good, usually empty route for you. If you walk straight from Memorial Union toward the Physics Building, you will be amazed how serene the walk is. The walk from Schlundt Annex toward the Physics Building is surprisingly pleasant this time of year. There are also a bunch of beautiful trees right between the physics and chemistry buildings and a ledge to sit and study on for a while.

The perfect study spot varies based on preferences, time of the day and workload. Columbia is filled with obscure and obvious places to study. You just need to have the eye to find your special spot and the motivation to study. So grab your study snack, find a study spot and ace your exams.

_ Edited by Libby Stanford | lstanford@themaneater.com _

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