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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Places to study on campus: libraries, lattes, and late-night lounging

Finding the perfect study spot on campus can be a challenging thing to do. Noise level, the amount of light, how many people are around you and even the size of the desks can affect your ability to get work done effectively. Here are a couple of favorite spots on campus to check out for all of your different study preferences. 

Memorial Union

Memorial Union is by far one of the most recognized spaces on campus. It has bustling restaurants, a great view of the lake and a constant stream of people in and out of the building. If you enjoy having some white noise in the background, the ground floor study room in the back of Memorial Union is perfect for you. 

You will be able to hear everything happening inside the union but the room itself tends to remain relatively quiet. Food is within your reach and close by at Strada, Carte or Der Rathskeller. Coffee is also conveniently located at Peet’s Coffee just a few more strides away. 

Another positive feature of this studying vibe is the large windows that surround the study area. These windows give a great view of the lake and provide plenty of natural light. If you are finding that there isn’t enough nature for your liking, you can always sit outside at the iconic Terrace, either at the sunburst chairs or at the picnic tables (and there are almost always dogs!)

Another relatively unknown study space is the second-floor quiet area. This spot is significantly more quiet than the ground floor level but does have the added benefit of a piano that can be played by talented students throughout the day. The room also has two fireplaces that are lit during the cold winter months. Unfortunately, the desk spaces available in this study room are not as spacious as those downstairs.

Shiny, new Chazen Cafe

Another great study spot on campus is the new Chazen Cafe. Since it is a cafe, there are grab-and-go snacks available and drinks. The cafe is located inside the Chazen Museum, so the space is incredibly quiet, only interrupted by the occasional noise of the coffee machines. 

The space is surrounded by windows that allow massive amounts of natural light inside the space. One downside of this area though is the seating arrangements. Often the tables are used by single occupants which leads to tables being taken quickly. One unique aspect to the Chazen Cafe is its location. Take advantage of its placement in a museum and take a study break by strolling through the new exhibits and reset your mindset.

Get floral and get focused: gardens are great!

An unlikely but amazing study spot is the botanical gardens located on campus. The Allen Centennial Gardens are farther away from the center of campus but can easily be accessed by riding the 80. The Botany Gardens, however, are more central to campus, located just off of University Ave. My personal favorite thing about both of these spots is the tranquility of being in the gardens themselves. Sitting in the gardens is like sitting in your own little world (or music video if you have headphones on). 

People rarely walk through them so you would have pretty much the whole area to yourself. Unfortunately, there isn't a ton of seating options but if your homework is reading-heavy, sitting outside can make that dreary assignment seem much easier. 

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Another plus side of these areas is the number of trees located around, not inside, the gardens. If you like to hammock and do homework when it’s nice out, you can almost always find a nice shady group of trees just outside the gardens to set up and rock your stress away. Especially as the leaves are beginning to change colors, take advantage of the autumn shift. 

Switch it up!

Two relatively low-key spots to get some studying done are the Wisconsin Historical Society library and the Sterling Hall Astronomy library.

In the Wisconsin Historical Society, there are classic old-fashioned green lamps and massive desks to work at. The library is practically silent so I would recommend bringing headphones so you have some background noise to your studying. One great thing about this library is that not many students know that they’re allowed in there, so there are few people that will go and study there. There are also other areas within the building that can be used as study nooks. 

The Sterling Hall Astronomy library is another hidden treasure of a study spot. Located on the sixth floor of Sterling Hall, this is the perfect low-key getaway from the stressing campus environment. 

Unfortunately, the hours of this library are a little strange compared to the other libraries on campus but it is still a great place to get some work done. You can hide away between the shelves of books and grind out some work, often without disruption. The library is quiet and that works to its advantage. If you are looking for a perfectly quiet study area to work on homework by yourself or with a small group of people, this library is definitely worth checking out. 

Just remember that you will only get out of your studying what you put into it. Whether you thrive in a bustling environment or dead silence, your study space should be conducive to a productive, beneficial and positive space for you to use. Good luck studying! 

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