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Spoiled Life Cafe
Spoiled Life Cafe
Original photo by Kate Mackie
Life > Academics

Cosy St Andrews Study Spots

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

As reading week approaches and we reach the halfway mark of the semester, you’ve likely exhausted your trips to our buzzing, brutalist, brightly-lit Main Library.

Not only is its exterior architecturally depressing, but its inside, too, is far from conducive to a comfortable studying environment. I’m sure we’ve all done the dance of switching between the booming ground floor, the overly packed basement, and the silent section (with its slough of judgy looks and awkward squeaks). 

Borrowing from the Danish principle of hygge, I argue that our surroundings’ aesthetic nature significantly impacts our well-being. Spending hours on end in cold blocks, like Main Library, detracts from our overall contentment and quality of life.

So why do we refuse to question the Main Library’s chokehold on us? For those of you who long to beat against the current, here are some cosy study spot recommendations:

Firstly, a suggestion for the early birds and night owls – St. Mary’s College Library. Yes, getting a seat in there is akin to a large-scale game of musical chairs, but if you can do it, it is undoubtedly worth it. The warm lighting, comfortable seats, and the beautiful interior filled with ancient books and imposing busts render St. Mary’s College Library my favourite study space. No other room makes you feel just as academic and inspired!

Second, I recommend you try our lovely community Byre Theatre. The Byre is a wonderfully warm and snug outlet for students to tackle uni work. Its lighting is always soft, its couches always inviting, and it almost always plays quiet, unimposing jazz music, lulling you into study mode with its charming and sonorous instrumentals.

Third, if you can be productive in cafes, give Spoiled Life a go. It is a curious compilation of lifestyle shopping, coffee brewing, and spaces for studying. And whilst this seems chaotic, given its small size, it is my favourite study spot on slower days. Spoiled is warm and alluring, with lovely coffee and pastries. It offers the buzz of white noise and invites you to feel cosy and welcome.

Fourth, I recommend the School of History’s Reading Room. Whilst a slightly underground suggestion, the History Reading Room is a charismatic, snug, and secret spot. It is almost always empty, though it takes few people to fill it. Stepping inside feels like you’ve entered a part of Hogwarts. It provides the cosiness of the Gryffindor common room, with its curved brick walls and comforting couches. This is certainly a go-to for me.

Fifth, my final suggestion is Kennedy Hall (after the hours of class time, of course). Kennedy Hall, a beautiful sea-view building on the Scores, is home to seminar rooms and offices of professors. Yet, after teaching hours, Kennedy Hall remains open for use. You can study in lovely, lamp-lit nooks, looking out at the serene ocean. The building is the epitome of warm and cosy.

Though deadlines are undeniably draining, and it is easy to fall into a lifeless routine of spending hours on end in the Main Library, bring more spirit into your studying with these suggestions. I hope I have opened your eyes to the importance of aesthetically pleasing spaces, and have offered you some feasible and practical alternatives. Happy studying!

Rhiannon Peacock

St. Andrews '25

Rhiannon is a second year from Boston MA studying English & International Relations