The Journey to Find your Spot
By: Brianna Gadaleta
The search usually begins at the library for freshmen, listening to college tours, and falling into the universal study location. Other than classroom locations, it’s probably the second building a student familiarizing themselves with. To be clear, the library does hold its advantages, having multiple floors, resources for papers and projects, printers, centers of help, and an abundance of essentials for school. It’s a great place to tackle group assignments, receive aid from TAs, and to set up your computer and notes but instead, wander into the mindless talking with friends. However, with my experience, the library didn’t mount up to my other hidden gems of study spots.
After a couple of trips to the library in the dead of winter, I was through with the unfilling library work sessions, I knew there was a place calling my name, ready for me to make it my spot. The common conception about the library is that it’s the only place on campus where you can be productive, which is completely misleading. The key to finding a worthy place is knowing your true study habits. For instance, I work my best when I’m completely alone or with as few distractions as possible, which made the main floor of the library an unsuitable option. When I understood my studying style, that's when I branched out into other buildings on campus that could potentially be my hidden gem. Everything in college starts out as a process of trial and error, and getting to understand yourself as an independent adult with large amounts of freedom. Although this may seem small in the grand scheme of college, you're becoming more of an individual by understanding your comforts and nature.
If the library doesn’t work for you, don’t fear, there are countless options available. Before the weather becomes unbearably cold, I enjoy the benches, tables and tree stumps as a great place to focus, but also appreciate the beautiful fall foliage Maine has to offer. It was nice to get out of a stuffy building, breathe in fresh air, soak in the crisp colors of fall and have the sun as a cozy blanket. It provides me with a re-energized attitude towards school work, and overall puts me in a better mood; which can be really important for mental health, because not everyday is going to be easy.
Although a classroom might be the last place you want to be after a long, exhausting day of lectures and note taking, it can be a very useful space of studying and collaborating with peers. I’ve seen one student in the classroom hard at work, yet, witnessed a group of study solving equations on the smart boards, watching videos and discussing books. I find classrooms helpful when writing research papers, due to the adequate table space available to spread papers, books and any other materials. Just the space itself motivates me into working hard and putting extra effort into assignments.
When settling into an article, book, poem or any form of writing, I favor comfortable spaces to really dive into the text. If a classroom is not a place you’d thrive, look deeper, past the classic school settings to find areas to work. One of the ways I found one of my favorite nooks is by simply exploring into a building I’d never been into before. I stumbled upon a corner in the hallway with a hidden couch, lamp and table. It presented a comfortable setting, with a private component that allowed me to feel relaxed and alone with just my book. There are lounge areas in many different buildings that students congregate in to work, and it's a great option if a traditional desk and chair isn’t the top choice.
Regardless of the type of place you're looking for, the best system for searching for it is by asking fellow students. They are also people trying to get work done, and could be going into buildings you’ve never seen before. Some of the places I’ve come to love working in, have been discovered by my friends and peers. It's important to take time and to explore your college, because although in strict terms your job is to be a student and take classes; college is a broader experience that offers lots of opportunities. You make the most out of your four years by using the college for all it's got, whether that’s going into the career center or simply using a printer.