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Finals are coming up pretty soon, and with that comes my journey of trying to find the best study and workspace on campus. This year, I decided to start this process early so that I have one less thing to worry about when finals eventually come around. 

Spending my first semester of college online left my class and me at a pretty significant disadvantage. This is mainly because we didn’t get to experience “college life.” One of the things included in the big concept of “college life” is finding a good study spot, which is why any chance I got to speak to upper-level students, I would ask about their favorite hangout and studying location. With this information, I came to campus this semester (spring 2021) with the determination to find the spot that works best for me. 

So without further ado, here are my top five places to work (that are currently open, as some places in Columbia’s campus are closed due to COVID restrictions).

Futter Field

The tent that was recently erected on Futter Field made me feel like it would be a great place to hang out outside. With this logic in mind, I went one Monday afternoon intending to do work for at least a couple of hours. I got my lunch, ate it, and then proceeded to take my stuff out. I opened up my laptop and waited for the WiFi to connect. Five minutes passed, and the three bars were still loading. I decided to do some work on paper while I waited for it to load, and another 5 minutes passed. Nothing changed; there was no stable WiFi. So I packed up my stuff and went back to my room. 

WiFi: very bad 

Rating: 4/10

Would I go again: Not to study… unless the WiFi gets better. 

Low Steps

I’m not sure what day I went on Low Steps to get some work done, but it was definitely one of the first days this semester when the weather was really nice. Over the past year, I’ve heard that going to Low Steps is both “basic” and a fun time — I agree. It was really nice to sit outside in the sun, enjoying the weather and just feeling the positive energy on the steps — but, because of how nice the location is, everyone wants to enjoy it as well. When the weather is nice, it’s kind of hard to find a spot that is socially distanced from other groups and people. Along with this, the lack of back support kind of gets old pretty fast. Overall, it’s nice just to sit and hang out there. 

WiFi: Really good 

Rating: 6/10 

Would I go again: Probably, but I think just to hang out. 


Mudd is in the corner of campus, and maybe that’s why there aren’t that many people there, but it’s still a pretty nice place to work. The lobby has a couple of booths, single tables, high-rise tables, group tables, and huge tables. I feel like there is a good spot for everyone to study and work. Some classrooms are open for people to use if that’s what they wish to do — but personally, I don’t like to work on the tiny tables that are attached to the chairs in the classrooms. 

WiFi: Great 

Rating: 7/10 

Would I go again: Yup! It’s a great place to work — plus I think it stays open the latest.

Hamilton/Economics Library

Even though these two buildings are completely different from each other, to me, they are in similar standing with regards to the “vibes” I get from them. The economics library is huge, with lots of seating and multiple different desks and room types. All the times I’ve been there, it’s never been full. Hamilton is, I think, where a lot of the classrooms are, but if you go at night, it was basically empty. You could potentially get a classroom to yourself and, with it, multiple chalkboards. I remember that when I went to work in both of these places, I didn’t feel distracted at all— I was able to do a lot of work without any distractions. 

Wifi: Amazing

Rating: 9/10 

Would I go again: Planning on it! 

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Out of all of the places listed above, Milstein is by far my favorite. I went there the first time a few weeks ago, and I was hooked. There are three floors that we can currently access, and all of them have amazing seating options — sofas, chairs, small desks, tables, and adjustable tables! I liked working here, and similar to what I said above, I got a lot of work done while studying there. 

WiFi: Amazing!

Rating: 10/10

Would I go again: Yup! I go a couple of times a week to Millstein. 

Honorable mention: my room! I definitely work in my room the most because it is the most convenient— as it is my room. I don’t have to wear a mask; the bathroom, kitchen, and bed are really close. Overall, my room is the best place, but our campus definitely has a lot to offer, and I hope that I’m able to add on to this list as time goes on! 

Happy studying! :) 

Mahati Shastry

Columbia Barnard '24

Mahati is a freshman at Barnard who is excited to experience the wonder that is NYC. She loves reading, writing, and spending time outdoors. Even though she is just entering the Barnard family, she already feels like she’s at home. Currently, she is undecided but is very interested in computer science and political science. :)
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