The Ten Best Study Spots on Campus


Midterms are coming up, and a collegiette needs to study! Here are some of the best places around St. Olaf to hit the books:

1) The Library
WHY IT’S GREAT: This list would be incomplete without including the most obvious (and popular) study spot on campus. Options abound for every student. The Reference Room is perfect for those that need peace and quiet, but also for those that appreciate knowing that they’re not alone in their struggles. Those that need to get away from all distractions can find it on one of the comfy chairs or personal desks on a Super-Quiet Study Floor. And if you have any questions, the library has a wealth of resources to help, from excellent reference librarians to the multitude of books that its shelves.   

2)The Upper Floor of Regents
WHY IT’S GREAT:There are some great study spots in Regents. The Science Library and the Norway Cafe provide a wide variety of options in noise, distraction and comfort. However, by far, the most beautiful place to study in Regents may be on the top floor, both inside and outside. The outstanding view of Northfield is overwhelmingly beautiful but not distracting, and the sunlight is a welcome change from the darker corners of the library. It’s the perfect place to feel a bit more “at one” with nature, while still being comfortably warm inside away from the cold winter air.

3) The Buntrock Window Seats
WHY IT’S GREAT: The nooks in Buntrock are perfect when you have homework to do, but not homework you need to do. It offers the perfect blend of socialization and privacy, typically allowing you to call over friends making their way from Buntrock to the Library, but not forcing you to spend inordinate amounts of time talking because, well, they’re already en route somewhere out. It’s also a great place to people watch as people run to and from class.

4) Tomson Atrium
WHY IT’S GREAT: Nothing makes you feel more like being an Ole than sitting in the Tomson Atrium. You’re surrounded by images of successful Oles and probably studying on a table covered with a picture of Old Main. Studying in this environment reminds you of the vital role you play as an individual at a college that teems with successful individuals and alumni. How could you not be inspired to work just a bit harder?

5) The Basement of Boe
WHY IT’S GREAT: The basement of Boe has been an ideal study space ever since the Religion Department packed up and moved to Old Main. The often-empty classrooms are the perfect place to practice speeches and work on group projects because there’s few distractions and no need to be quiet. An added bonus: Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can hear the faint tunes from a practicing organist overhead. Something about studying just under the watchful eye of God is a real motivator.

6) Your Dorm Lounge
WHY IT’S GREAT: Dorm lounges, especially in non-first-year residence halls, are often sparsely populated. Some spaces, like the lounges in Thorson and Melby evoke a real old-fashioned air, which is the perfect environment to curl up in with your textbook. Lounges typically have pretty comfortable seating spaces, aren’t numbingly quiet, but still provide a great get-away from the distractions of your dorm room. There are also probably some state-of-the-art, big-screened Macs nearby, which can be a welcome change from the small screens on your laptop or iPad.

7) The Pause
WHY IT’S GREAT: When it’s late, you’re hungry, and you want a place to socialize over those last few math problems, the Lair is the perfect place to study. TV noise buzzes in the background, you can munch on a slice of oh-so-perfect Pause pizza, and take a break to play pool when you become overwhelmed. It’s a great place for those who over-stress in an uber-quiet study zone and need a bit more surrounding action to stay focused.

8) The New Administration Building
WHY IT’S GREAT: Almost completely unnoticed by Oles, the old administration building underwent a complete makeover and now houses the Music Box and some additional communications and marketing offices. What many Oles don’t realize is that the space also offers some quality study-spaces. Lounge furniture reminiscent of that in Tomson (but in a more appealing color pallet) lines small corners of the building between offices, and the spaces are almost empty of other intruding Oles.

9) The Cage
WHY IT’S GREAT: The Cage is the natural go-to spot for quality group project time (if you’re lucky enough to snag a table!). It’s a light, fun atmosphere for those times when you aren’t under a lot of stress but still want to be productive. It also offers opportunities for longer chats with your peers which can make an excellent break from writing that midterm. Plus, you can eat ice cream while you work. If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.

10) The Natural Lands
WHY IT’S GREAT: When the weather warms up, the St. Olaf Natural Lands provide an excellent getaway from the standard stresses of campus. Many students go running or walking throughout the natural lands, but they also make an excellent place to read and study. The natural lands offer the perfect blend of peace and tranquility, and sitting in the sunshine always feels good. It takes a bit of searching to find a good spot - there are benches scattered throughout the natural lands, especially near the ponds - but the adventure is half the fun!