Situational Studying: Where Students Feel At Home

By Jessica Isgro

Contributing Writer

When it comes to studying, I find my work is both most easily and efficiently accomplished at home. Being approximately three hours from my New Jersey suburb, “home” has come to mean more than just the literal setting of my childhood house. Rather, home is now defined as a comfortable chair and a warm drink. Whether it be a “Snicker Bar” latte and a large, cushiony chair at Seventh Street Café, a hot cup of chai tea in the Traditional Reading Room of the library or even a cup of instant hot chocolate and the couch in my common room, there seems to be an endless supply of “homes” right here on campus.

As an admitted studying prima donna, I’ve grown used to my own study environment to the point where I seldom venture outside of it for fear of decreased productivity. Yet, in the name of exploration, I decided to step outside of myself and attempt to study in a cubicle in the library. Being an individual who gets distracted by anything and everything even remotely visually enticing, I thought it might be interesting to work in an area devoid of distraction.

But rather than feeling inspired to finish my academic pursuits, I felt like a horse with blinders on, trotting aimlessly down the street. Instead of staring off in different directions—at books on shelves or people in comfy chairs—I found myself staring at the utterly boring, blank wall before me. Worse still, productivity was exuding from all the individuals around me. I could hear the anxious “tap-tap-tap” of Macbook keys, the fluttering of pages in textbooks and dense anthologies. Sufficed to say, endeavoring to do work in these cubicles was a one-time occurrence.

I believe myself to be an extreme–-someone who can only work in one sort of environment. Luckily enough for me, this environment is in abundance on campus. From comfortable lounge chairs in the hallways on the second floor of the library to my very own dormitory, I can always find a quiet and appealing area to study. I’m sure there are study extremists out there just like me–in fact, I am sure of it every time I see the Traditional Reading Room packed with eager members of our academia. Undoubtedly, there are other creatures of habit on this campus. There are other individuals who reconcile themselves with their favorite couch, cubicle, chair or desk, whether it be in Bertrand Library or Seventh Street Café, in the library in Vaughn Literature Building or the couches in the basement of the Sigfried Weis Music Building, at the desks on the third floor of the library or at their own desks in their dorm rooms. Obviously, there is an endless supply of study possibilities on campus.

Sometimes, exploration is necessary before you know how you’ll study best. Had I never endeavored to study in a cubicle, I may always wonder if perhaps I am lacking a depth of solitary study that would forever change my academic life. But ultimately, it is about where each student feels most productive, most engaged and simply at home.

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