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Cornell’s Best Kept Secrets: Study Spots for Finals

It is no secret that some students at Cornell are competitive. Really competitive. We have all at least heard a story or two about students refusing to help classmates for fear that she’ll do better than you after your help on the class’s curve.

And the completion does not just stop there, as it seems to encompass everything during finals period. Even getting a spot in the library is competitive, as documented in this Instagram video from last year. But with these top studying spots, you won’t have to do any running to claim them!

1. The Martin P. Catherwood Library in the ILR School

Individual Desks in Silent Study Area

Located in Ives Hall East, the ILR Library is has several options for study space. The quite study area on the first floor offers several different styles of seating, from private desks with desk lamps to comfortable chairs looking out to the beautifully landscaped ILR courtyard. On the second floor are additional areas for study interspersed among the stacks.

2. Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance (Music Library)

Study Area Close to the Library Entrance

Hidden away on the second and third floors of Lincoln Hall you will find Cornell’s Music Library. Aside from all of the recording and playback equipment you won’t find in any of the other libraries, the library has several carrels which are normally assigned to graduate students — except the vast majority of them are not assigned and therefore open to anyone.

3. John Henrik Clarke Africana Library at the Africana Studies and Research Center

Study Areas Situated between Stacks and Windows

The Africana Library is located on between the Ecology House and Jessup Field on North Campus. It’s the ideal place to go to study if you live in the area of North Campus and don’t want to venture to Central Campus. In addition to the collection of books, you will find a Net-Print printer and computers to use.

4. Mathematics Library (Located in Malott Hall)

Computers and Printers by the Circulation Desk and Entrance

One of the most unheard of libraries to Cornell students, the Math Library offers a quiet place to study close to the Ag Quad without having to go all the way to Mann. It has two levels, and if you get hungry and need a break, there is a lineup of several vending machines (which accept BRBs!) on the same floor as the Bache Auditorium.

5. Edna McConnell Clark Library (Physical Sciences Library)

The Clark Learning Suite offers tables big enough to do work with a couple of friends.

Although the Physical Sciences Building is definitely a hotspot of activity, the adjacent quiet study area on the second floor of Clark Hall of Science is a place for both groups and individuals. Carrels line the perimeter of the space in single-file lines and are separated from the group areas by classrooms with glass walls. A very recent addition to the library includes a brand-new printer connected to Net-Print.

6. Albert R. Mann Library, Ag Quad

Very New Furniture on the Second Floor of Mann

Well, Mann might be a little more competitive than the other study spots on this list, but with the brand-new furniture delivered this semester, you have to at least give it a try. Since some of the furniture is moveable, the setup can vary from collaborative to isolated. (Literally, you can enclose your desk within circular walls…) And since everything is new, power outlets are ample, including USB charging outlets build into some chairs!

7. William E. Snee Hall, Engineering Quad

Reading Room on the First Floor Offers both Tables and Comfortable Chairs

Can’t find one of those coveted alcoves in Duffield? Fear not! There are plenty of other alternatives, located right on the Engineering Quad. Take, or instance, Snee Hall, Cornell’s home to geological sciences. Open for business hours from Monday through Friday, the building has a lot to offer that you won’t find in your typical Cornell building such as a seismogram recorders, a mineral museum, and the skeleton of a dinosaur. After you’ve done your initial exploring, take a seat at one of the two picnic tables on the roof or in the reading room on the first floor where there are plenty of seats and copious amounts of natural light thanks to the glass roof.

8. Willard Straight Hall

Computer Lab on the First Floor

Although some of the locations in Willard Straight are hit-or-miss with regards to availability, there are still a few good ones. A little-known CIT computer lab (with PCs and Macs!) is located on the first floor, across from the box office for Cornell Cinema. Other suitable locations for studying include potentially-available rooms on the fourth floor and sixth floors.

9. Anabel Taylor Hall, between Law School and Gannett Health Services

Location of the Former One World Café on the First Floor

Open until 11:00 PM on most nights, Anabel Taylor Hall offers close proximity to the Engineering Quad without multitudes of students studying everywhere. As long as events are not going on, space is typically available on most floors. The basement floor offers folding tables and folding chairs for whatever setup you prefer, while the former One World Café has retained most of its old furniture for a café-like setting, minus the food.

I am a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, with minors in Landscape Studies and Horticulture. I was born and raised in New England, and besides gardening, I have interests in project planning, design, and construction. At Cornell, I serve on the Cornell Class Councils and the Student Union Board, work as the Director of Cornell Bus Services, and participate in NRHH (National Residence Hall Honorary). I am so excited to finally be a Contributor to Cornell's Her Campus chapter‼
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