Leah Azmi is a sophomore in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as the SCHAR School of Policy and Government, with a double major in both English and Government and International Politics. She is originally from Centreville, Virginia and is a part of the Patriot Activities Council.
Molly Harnish is a senior in the Honors College, majoring in Economics and minoring in Mathematics and Public Policy and Management. She is originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania, and has been involved in InterVarsity and the Economics Society during her time at Mason.
I know one major concern a lot of students have, especially around midterm and finals season, is where they’re going to study. I constantly have an eye out for a specific place I know I can completely focus on my work and not get distracted. So, here are some of the best places to study
1 – The Johnson Center This option, in particular, may feel a bit on the nose, but hear me out.
I personally like an environment where there’s a constant buzz in the air. It’s full of chatter, the lighting’s not too annoyingly bright, and there’s always some place to sit. The JC is obviously popular enough because of all the retail dining options we students enjoy the most on campus, which adds even more appeal to this location.
Then, of course, there’s the added appeal of many different kinds of seating. You have the couches that look over the JC, the long tables where you can sit with a group of friends to work or eat together, and the singular cubbies that are perfect if you still want to enjoy the idle chatter while gaining some privacy. If you want to work in a more private environment or have a group project you need to work with your classmates on, you can easily book a study room.
2 – Fenwick Library Inside the library, where it can either be a “yellow” or “red zone”, it tends to be the quietest and the least busy. If you prefer to work alone, they have little cubby desks to separate you from others so you can work in a semi-private space. And if you choose to work in absolute privacy, or you choose to do an online class, you can take advantage of the private study rooms.
Outside the library, on the second and third floor, their lobbies have been labelled as a “green zone” so it’s an open area for collaboration and conversation. If you don’t mind doing your work in a slightly louder zone and just wish to lounge while you’re studying, then these two lobbies are especially perfect.
And then, of course, the Argo tea at the entrance that, even when closed, serves as another area for people to study in peace and somewhat more silence than the lobby on the second floor may have to offer.
3 – Horizon Hall The six floors of our newest building on campus provides tons of areas to complete any homework, study, or just take a break between classes. Obviously with six floors, that means there will be tons of places to sit and work. And it’s not even just regular seating areas, you have couches, booths, highchairs and even the amphitheater right outside the lower level entrance for when the weather gets warmer.
Not to mention, since the building in LEED certified, that means the lighting isn’t too harsh, Horizon relies more on natural lighting than artificial lighting. Each work area also has plenty of outlets for however many people will be working there.
4 – Starbucks at Northern Neck Hear me out, aesthetically, it’s pleasing. It’s not too loud to the point where you’d need to pull out the headphones, the idle chatter is quite soothing. Even if you choose to opt for your own background noise to focus, you don’t need to turn it up a ridiculous volume to block out everyone.
The lighting in the café adds to the appeal since it’s warm and not as harsh compared to some of the lighting in other areas of campus. Not to mention the outlets that are near every single table and lounge area in the café.
And then, of course, easy access to coffee and snacks. Who wouldn’t love that?
Obviously there are tons of places on campus that are perfect as study spots, but these four are my go to destinations depending on my mood or if I mind hearing some idle chatter. Personally I like to hear more idle chatter and the warm lighting of the Starbucks at Northern Neck since it’s the easiest destination to work in, but I always frequent the JC since it’s the most central building to where all my classes are.
But everyone has their own preferences when it comes to noise/chatter, lighting, or just the seating and resources available. That’s why I explicitly mention those characteristics. So when you’re looking for a great place to study for a Midterm or work on a project, you’ll have an idea on the best place possible to do that while also being aware of what you prefer in the area you study in.