Penn State Study Spots - The Best of the Best

Penn State Study Spots - The Best of the Best

As the first round of exams approaches, I thought it would be a good idea to get out of the apartment and study. Personally, I need a quiet environment that is not too distracting but also not as boring as a desk in the stacks. I’ve always thought: Wouldn’t it be nice to have the perfect study spot that no one else knows about? So I decided to find just that, the best study spots around Penn State. From past experiences and with help from some of my friends, I have compiled a list of study locations (most comfortable, best place to people-watch, quietest, etc.). If your current study spot just isn’t cutting it, or you haven’t discovered a good place to dive into your textbooks, take my advice and stay away from the HUB. Instead, check some of these spots out.

Most comfortable: Group Study Area in the 3rd floor Schreyer’s Business Library

I discovered this room last year while searching for a good spot to do group work in the library. Normally people get pretty annoyed by even the quietest of noises, but this room is designated for groups to talk, laugh and work together on projects. Just because the room is meant for groups doesn’t mean you can’t use it by yourself (as long as you don’t mind the talking, or you remember headphones). A small, closed off section of the Schreyer’s Business Library has a few tables and chairs for groups. It also has some very comfy chairs for the solo studiers that are perfect for cozying up with a good textbook. You can spend hours on end here and never have to walk more than 15 feet for anything (except food, but that’s only a short elevator ride away). It also has bathrooms, a water fountain, and a reasonable window view, perfect for studying.

Quietest: Blue Spoon in Warnock (North) Dining Commons

Not many people frequent the North Dining Commons, with their limited hours and distance from downtown. But that makes it one of the most peaceful places I have found to study. Northside, the buffet section, is rarely frequented during non-lunch hours when there are no lines for food and no disturbances; and Blue Spoon, the á la carte dining area has a section of long tables near the exit that are vacant almost all the time. If you have the time and the energy to walk up Shortlidge, I would recommend checking this location out for some peace and quiet.

schlow libraryBest Place Downtown: Schlow Library

Schlow Library, on South Allen Street, diagonal from Panera, is a great place to get work done downtown. It is frequented not by students, but by the townies who are respectful and helpful. There are a few good seats to use for studying, a couple of desktop computers to use and a surplus of books and magazines that are a lot easier to locate than in the stacks. An added bonus is the plethora of food choices within walking distance, as well as the white loop stop just outside of the building. Spending some time in Schlow sure beats walking all the way to Patee Library just to find that all of the cozy chairs in Humanities Reading Room (aka: the Harry Potter room) are taken (also another comfy place to study).

Best Spot in the HUB: Noontime Lounge window seats

I never thought of studying in the HUB until this year. I always thought it would be too loud, or there would never be a chair available, or I would get distracted by the constant chaos that takes place there during lunch. That is until I discovered the Noontime lounge. This is where they sometimes have the poster sales in the HUB and where student bands perform almost every Friday at lunch (don’t plan on studying then!) This section of the HUB is above all the noise of the dining area and away from the flyer people, making it a little bit quieter. If you get a chair by the window, which are hard to come by, then pull it up close to window and rest your feet on the heater to keep them toasty while you work or enjoy the (once beautiful) view of the HUB lawn… what’s left of it at least…

Best View: The Life Science Bridge

If a good view is what gets you in the studying mood, then the Life Science building should be perfect for you. With a wonderful view from Shortlidge Street and all of those walking along its sidewalks, all the way to the snow covered mountains, you really can’t beat the view. The only downside of Life Science is the lack of seating. There are about a dozen really good seats and only 30 seats total, but they are all comfy and if you come early or late, then you can enjoy the view for hours without it ever getting old.

Best Overall: Alumni Center

My absolute favorite place to study on campus is the Alumni Center by the duck pond on the west side of campus. I inside hintzdiscovered it while adventuring one day around finals week this past fall and used it as my secret study spot for the rest of the semester. The building is beautiful inside and out, and almost always vacant (unless there is a meeting, in which case you can’t use the lounge area). The receptionists are extremely friendly and the main room is warm and welcoming with plush chairs, tables, and even a piano (which I have never seen played, but have been tempted to ask every time I visit). The Alumni Center is close to downtown and is a comfortable place to stay in and relax or do homework in the winter and summer months. Overall, this spot has everything I look for in a study spot, making it perfect for me to get hours of work done without distraction.

As always, study spots are subject to opinion and personal preference. So if you think you have a better place to study than the places I mentioned, let me know! I might just feature them in my next article. On the other hand…maybe keep them to yourselves. After all, why would you want anyone else to know where your secret study spot is?