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It’s that time of the quarter again: the tail-end of midterm season right before the last dash towards finals week. I know for me getting into the right headspace can sometimes be a struggle. I often find being accompanied by the same old sights and sounds just lend to me feeling even less like studying or doing my work. I’ve always underestimated the importance of both what makes  the right study environment and the way my study atmosphere would change on campus. 

To recreate the perfect study space, I could use those lo-fi mixes with x, y, or z in the background but then I get distracted by that, I get bored halfway through, or, most of the time, I forget that they exist. It also isn’t that much of a stretch to say that the balance of the ambient noise to the music doesn’t always fit what I want in that moment or one part of it that I dislike is too loud for my taste. Recently I’ve found ways to combat this and simulate those old study experiences both in looks and sound. 

 

1. Window-Swap.com

Personally, I’m tired of looking out the same old window with the same old view every day. I wish I could go see the sites of other places, and most importantly I miss the cows on campus. This website allows for you to take a peek through someone else’s window, anywhere in the world. With one click of a button you can “Open a new window somewhere in the world” as the website greets you. And they sure do deliver. I’ve opened a window in places from New Zealand to right here in the United States to Russia to Brazil. I found myself being accompanied in my studies by a variety of views from cow pastures to high above a crowded city. 

Every window is beautiful and enriches my eyes with a new sight if I peek away from whatever assignment I’m working on for a second. Once you click the button on the website it takes you anywhere and you never really know until it loads on your screen. If you don’t like that window, you can always click away towards the new one but if you want to stay awhile feel free to press the loop button. Each video of the window lasts for 10 minutes so if you would rather not loop it or click away you can let it sit and it’ll load a new one when the time is up. There’s also an option to mute the window if you would prefer the sights without the sound. 

In the past week, I’ve been accompanied by many windows and some of my favorites are usually the ones where there’s a cat in the frame. One of my absolute favorites, though, is a window located in Putaruru, New Zealand where you are looking out at the cows hanging out in the field(you can find it here). In my clicks I have also found a few windows in Santa Cruz, so if you miss campus and wouldn’t mind looking in someone's backyard, you can find the two I’ve come across here and here. If you yourself are feeling kind of adventurous, you could submit your own window. The exact submission details are located on the Window-swap.com website.

 

2.    Imissmycafe.com and soundsofcollegues.com

These sites are two sides of the same coin, with both helping create different environments for listeners. Imissmycafe is perfect for those who miss the bustle of cafes. Every aspect of the noise within the cafe space can be controlled so if you don’t like the sound of the barista calling out orders every so often, you can mute that. And if you prefer cafes when they’re mostly empty, well you can customize that as well. This site was created by the Tik Tok user oreagano95 in collaboration with sound designer Evan Cook.

Alternatively, if you miss the quiet sounds of the library instead, soundofcolleges would be the website for you. This website was created to mimic the sounds of an office for those that miss their working environment, but if you turn off the printer, dog, and telephone sounds you would have yourself the almost perfect soundscape of a busy library. I’m not quite sure who created it, but there’s a Spotify album of pre-curated mixes connected on the website which has specific scenarios with the sounds already mixed in for you.

Overall, after just over a year of spending all our time inside will little knowledge of the next time we’ll be able to be in these communal settings again, these websites feel like a gift. When I add my own playlists and have the sounds playing in the background I'm able to simulate having my headphones in at these places. So my suggestion to you is to put on whatever you listen to, or nothing at all, and immerse yourself in the places we haven’t been able to visit.

 

The cow window - https://www.window-swap.com/0/533627407

Santa Cruz 1 - https://www.window-swap.com/0/529634521

Santa Cruz 2 - https://www.window-swap.com/0/529629913

Hi everyone! My name is Katherine Eble. I am a History of Art and Visual Culture major and a Astrophysics minor. I am a cat person and a night owl. Hope you're all having a great day.
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