Most students might think they’d have a pretty good idea of what their time spent at university would consist of. Pacing back and forth between lectures/seminars/tutorials, sports training and their socials, learning to cook a half-decent meal, spontaneous nights out that probably end in a kebab shop more often than they should, the occasional panicked all-nighter before a dreaded deadline, and a nice dollop of Netflix binging to top it off. Right? Wrong. The one thing guaranteed to take up much of your daily lives over your degree will not be any of these; more accurately and rather frustratingly, it’ll be the time you spend looking for the perfect study space. So, for those who haven’t attempted to branch out from the safety of their rooms when bashing out an essay, here are a few classic and unconventional locations to try out.
Every library-goer gradually learns the art to securing a seat in this very desirable location: getting up at the crack of dawn, bringing an endless supply of snacks, and having the attention levels of a hawk to be able to sense when someone’s about to pack up. Potentially overrated and overcrowded at times, but that’s only something you’d say if you didn’t manage to get a seat.
Pros: Prime location to switch concentration levels on full blast (unless you’re near the dreaded bathroom hand-dryers erupting every five minutes, then keep your headphones and loud study playlists at the ready). Acceptable to eat in study breaks, as long as it’s not too crunchy or anything with tuna.
Cons: Constant battle for good seats, necessity to wake as early as the rowing team, hand-dryers, the loud talkers who don’t possess the basic human capacity to notice all the death glares they’re being given.
Every library-goer gradually learns the art to securing a seat
Outside library/other forum spaces
This will only work if you’re good at completely switching off your awareness of others around you. It’s not for the faint-hearted or easily distracted.
Pros: Plenty of spaces dotted all around the Forum to try, sockets in certain locations.
Cons: The entirety of Exeter’s student population walking past you or catching your eye, including those you’d rather avoid. Bad location for avoiding distractions.
The Ram/Pret/La Touche/Costa
I’m not too ashamed to admit that I spent more time in places like the Ram, Firehouse and Terrace for the majority of my group study meetings in first year; it’s inevitable that food-lovers attract other food-lovers. But, curly fries and pizza aside, relaxed places like these are better for those chilled study sessions with a group where you won’t be getting evils from others trying to study.
Pros: Great for chilled group meetings, saves you time by allowing you to eat lunch whilst working, warm atmosphere.
Cons: Easy to get distracted by food/pints and the blaring TV, the comfort of the seats may make it more difficult to switch from relaxing mode to working mode – depends on your preference.
Although it’s technically also another location for foodies, this got its own section due to its uniqueness. Filled with a variety of seating areas such as cosy tables as well as the beautifully closed off booths that rival those battled for in the library, this is definitely worth keeping an eye out for.
Pros: Ridiculously comfy, secluded and visually appealing booths that separate you from the entire world for those moments where you need peace. Also, pies and other delicacies.
Cons: Unlikely to obtain spaces in any sort of working hour – aim for weekends or any unreasonable hour of the morning on weekdays.
Note: keep laptop fully charged before attempting to find a space here, because the chances are that all seats near sockets will be taken. Otherwise, good for chilled group or individual work, and an abundance of comfy sofas and couches.
Pros: The presence of Comida and a soup van around the corner, as well as the laptop and phone repair shop in case of technical issues.
Cons: Lack of sockets, noise, people constantly walking through and insensitively distracting you.
Other notable locations: Queen’s Café, Amory Building, Law Library… (or – just to avoid the hassle – home).