Secret study spots

By Samara Abramson

When living in a dorm at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it can be easy to forget about the rest of the campus. But there are so many other places you can go to study, eat or just hang out.

Sometimes I need a change of scenery when writing a paper or studying for a test. I have explored several different areas of campus and have discovered some of my favorite places are not only underrated, but also seemingly undiscovered by freshmen. The dorms are incredible at UMass, but it is important to explore everything else that the University has to offer. There are several spots that are relaxing and stress-free, which is definitely necessary at times.

After spending so many hours in the library during the day, one can begin to feel a little bit stir-crazy as the sun starts to go down. The Student Union definitely rates as a great place to do homework. There are so many different rooms with couches, tables and benches. Grabbing a bench at The Hatch and popping in your headphones competes with the second floor of the library for comfort and ambience.

Then there are those comfortable couches in the basement of the Lincoln Campus Center outside of the Collegian offices, which I find to be a relaxing and quiet place to sit and do my homework. There are also some impressive couches outside of The Hatch. Unlike studying in residence halls, both the library and the Student Union have various options for getting food to eat. Studying for long periods of time requires not only caffeine, but also nutrients to keep the mind active and alert.

More often than not, I experience a few hours – sometimes even days – of writer’s block. I don’t know if math and science majors experience a similar burden when writing labs or doing problem sets, but for me, all it takes sometimes is a change of scenery for the words to come to my fingertips. I can sit in the ninth floor of the library for hours without ever writing something I am proud of. Then I’ll move to another floor or go to a table in the Student Union and finish my paper in 45 minutes.

During weeks when I don’t have any tests or papers, I find myself hibernating inside of Southwest, with no escape except for classes. This is why I’m occasionally appreciative of grueling assignments, as I am then encouraged to venture off to the other side of campus to find a comfortable place to get my work completed.

As finals are approaching, I presume every floor in the library is going to be packed. Even though the dorms have quiet hours, it is well known that the rules of quiet hours are not always respected and followed. In addition, with so many friends living in your building, it may be distracting to stay in a residence hall to study during finals week. I encourage all students to go out over the next few days to find a “home-away-from-home”.

Both the library and the Student Union are like other worlds compared to Southwest. Even though UMass is a big campus, it can feel so small at times, especially when you don’t leave your dorm very often. I often see the same familiar faces at the dining hall every night at dinner. But when I go over to the Student Union or the library to study or eat, I rarely see a familiar face. From time to time, I love having the opportunity to be completely anonymous. Venturing off to another campus, the library or the Student Union provides this anonymity.

I am excited for springtime when the weather gets nice, and there will be places to study outside. For now though, as we approach the winter, it is a good idea to find a “home-away-from-home” on campus, so as to ensure a cure for cabin fever.

Samara Abramson is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]