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I Won’t Gatekeep: My Favourite Study Spots Around UVA

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

Finals season is quickly approaching, which means you are going to need a few alternatives to Clark and Clemons Library just in case. Some of my favorite non-library study spots on and off Grounds are where I find I am most productive, and maybe these spots will help inspire effective study sessions for you too.

Gilmer Hall

Located on E-way, in between the Chemistry Building and Observatory Hill dining hall, is the newly renovated Gilmer Hall. The science building is full of study spots on each of its 4 levels and is the perfect place to study with friends or independently. My favorite spot in Gilmer is hidden on the first floor, where natural light fills the open space and offers students the choice of cozy couches or spacious tables that are perfect for spreading all of your work across. For a more hidden spot, students should explore the second floor and the various nooks found in between hallways. I recommend the “study bar” on the second floor that faces a wall, helps minimize distractions, and also has several outlets to keep your electronics charged.

Nau Hall

You can find Nau Hall, which is attached to Gibson Hall, near the Student Health and Wellness Building. While the walk to Nau can sometimes be a bit of an investment, depending on where you are, the study spaces make it worth it. Not only is Grit Coffee conveniently located on the second floor, but study tables along large window panes that light up the room make for the perfect spot to study in the sun while keeping students out of the winter cold. The building has plenty of study spaces throughout each floor, in more private areas, that feature couches and coffee tables in a setting with less lighting as well. If the Charlottesville weather is feeling generous, benches and tables that fill the courtyard outside make for a great study area too.

Cocke hall

Currently, my favorite place to study is in the Philosophy Library in Cocke Hall, or Balz Library (yes it’s real and yes it’s ok to giggle). The library is the definition of dark academia in the fall and winter seasons and while it is small, it is also one of the more cozy study spots on Grounds. The room is decorated with shelves full of old philosophy books and dictionaries that students are welcome to use as well as comfortable couches or tables for studying. The library’s large window space also looks out onto the Amphitheatre, letting the natural light serve as the main light source. The library is open to undergraduate and graduate students but is only open during certain hours of the day, so expect to find another spot for late-night study sessions.

Grit coffee on the corner

Grit Coffee is located on Elliewood Avenue on a street just off of the Corner’s main road. While there is space on the main level, once upstairs you are presented with a variety of seating options for the perfect study session. Aside from the occasional train, Grit is a quiet place to study and a great alternative to 1515 on the off chance you are not able to find a spot. The coffee shop closes early in the evenings as well but is a great place to study off Grounds when you need a break from your usual spots.

The Rotunda

If you are struggling to find a productive study area, nothing is more motivating than getting work done inside one of the most prominent symbols of the University. The Rotunda is only open at certain hours of the day but has plenty of seating on the first and second floors of the building. The space promises the utmost serenity and quiet for moments when you truly need to focus.

All of the spaces mentioned above are perfect alternatives to the main libraries that are bound to be packed during finals season, or when your dorm, house, or apartment just isn’t putting you in the right mindset for ultimate concentration. You may have to poke around and explore the larger buildings to find the spaces that work for you, but that’s part of the fun too. Hopefully, these study spots make you feel as productive as I do and help you crush your finals this season.

Anaïs Naish is a writer and social media contributor at the Her Campus UVA chapter. She is a first year studying Political Science and Economics.