By Haley Rey, Editor in Chief
Photos from Haley Rey and Dylan Powell
Working on assignments in a dorm usually isn’t the best way to stay focused. Your room is better suited for leisure time, and your brain works better in a changed environment. Sure, it’s comfortable to curl up in your bed to do your homework, but how many times have you fallen asleep doing it? How many times have you sluggishly made your way through an assignment, because your body is used to resting in your bed instead of studying in it? Doing something as simple as walking to your building’s student lounge can enhance your motivation and productivity. McKendree’s campus has plenty of environments available to help you out.
One of the most modern places to study on campus is the Hub, located beneath 1828. The Hub used to be an unfinished storage space, until it was refurbished a few years ago. There are two private conference rooms, a large central table toward the front, and a back room area with more tables, chairs, and a couch. It’s a great place to work on group projects, host meetings, or just sit quietly and catch up on your academic commitments. There are options for bright or low lighting, whether it’s natural or artificial. It is usually rather quiet, as well, save for the creaking of the floor from 1828 just above.
The Piper Academic Center Lounge was closed off for most of last year, but is now open to students again! There are many comfortable places to meet with others and get something done. It’s a rather large room, so there are options for where you can sit and study. You will likely run into some McKendree staff or even a tour heading out from the Ambassador’s office, but it’s still a relatively calm place throughout the day. Be sure to wave to Kevin on your way in!
If you like the smell of food and the white noise of conversation surrounding you when you study, then 1828 is your new spot. You can pick up a coffee with your Flex Dollars, grab a good seat, and get to work. There are large and small tables to choose from, depending on how much space you need or how much you want to be left alone. You’re likely to see a classmate or professor while in there, so expect a bit of polite small talk if you’re sitting near the front. In the winter, the seats in the back are especially nice; you can look out across campus—perhaps as it’s covered in snow—and enjoy the view during brain breaks, with hot chocolate available just steps away.
There are many, many spots in the library to get to work. On the main level, there is a room to the left that will soon be a computer lab, a general area in the middle with computers and desks, and a Mac lab for anyone in need of it. On the lower level, there are tables and chairs, along with study carrels along the wall behind the bookshelves. Some have said that working downstairs is the best because of the bad service; if you can’t get texts, you’re less likely to be distracted on your phone. On the upper level (the quiet floor), there are more study carrels along the back walls, in addition to more tables, the tutoring center, and a cozy nook with couches and pillows. The gentle squeaking and clicking of the air vents may convince some that the place is haunted, but to others, it creates a bit of a connection with history; sometimes our old campus (the oldest in the state) reminds us of its age. Right now, though, the library is going through some changes (which you can read about here), but it is still a wonderful place to sit down and focus. In the spring, things will be a bit busier, so go say hello to the ghosts while you still can!
Many students who are not involved with music at McKendree are unaware of the Hett’s student lounge. Facing Leemon Field, there is a small space with tables and comfortable chairs where students are welcome to work or relax. You may hear some music echoing throughout the building, or Doug Magnussen telling one of his many stories. If you go today, you may even hear final preparations for the fall show, “Love/Sick” by John Cariani. The lounge has a lot of natural light during the day, and warm, overhead lighting in the evening. It’s a great place to fall into your to-do list.
The Lair is located across from Ames Dining Hall and beneath the bookstore. It has a few booths to sit at and do schoolwork, and you can take study breaks with a game of pool or ping pong. If you like to be around people or have plenty of noise around you when getting down to business, this may be the place for you. In the evenings, there are often people down there, studying or just hanging out. It’s a nice spot on campus, and it may be a great place to buckle down.
When the weather is nice, some people like to study on the quad or front lawn. It is less popular on McKendree’s campus to do this, but it is not unheard of. Soaking in the sunlight can be a really nice way to brighten up your day and motivate you to get work done. Since it’s something that can only really be done in the first and last couple of months of the school year, it may be worth a shot. When the campus defrosts, consider taking a large blanket outside, restoring some of your body’s vitamin D, and getting through some homework with friends.
Active Learning Center (ALC)
The ALC is a study space attached to New Residence Halls West, near Barnett. The room has several places to sit, with adjustable stools and high tables along the wall. There is a television, a white board, and a row of world clocks, just in case you’re curious what time it is in Hong Kong. This is a great place to study or even host a game night. This room is only accessible to those with an ID that swipes them into the building, so you may need to have a friend let you in, but it’s worth it!
Also attached to New Residence Halls is the Fireplace Lounge, a large room with window-walls and a risk-free fireplace. There is a microwave, a television, and a cabinet filled with board games. The room features warm lighting, several study tables, soft chairs, and couches to relax in. The space is great for working on projects, especially when it’s cold and dark outside and you can turn on the fireplace. Admittedly, though, the room is also nice to be in when the sun is shining through the large windows, filling the room with natural light. Unfortunately, this room is also only accessible to those with specific ID access, but it is a great place to get things done.
In each traditional residence hall (Walton, Barnett, and Baker), there is a student lounge toward the building’s front door. These rooms are small and may not always be the quietest, but they are still a great way to escape the comfort of your room to better dive into an assignment. The slightest change in scenery can really impact your productivity, so take advantage of these lounges!
Obviously, there are many other places to study on campus. If you live in New Residence Halls, you may only need to move to your living room to focus better. Otherwise, you could walk down to the end of your hallway and do your homework there; there are large windows, comfortable chairs, and several outlets. If you like to be outside, perhaps you enjoy studying on a bench or at the wooden tables outside the business office. If you really want to be left alone, you could hole up in a practice room in Eisenmeyer, with nothing but a piano to keep you company. Or, if you really like the spooky, flickering lights in the often vacant tutoring center, you could sit at the row of computers in the room that everyone forgets about.
Whatever works for you is what you should go for, but consider trying out a few new spots to study in while you’re on campus. It may have a huge impact on your success in and out of the classroom, so give it a shot. Happy studying, Bearcats!
What’s your favorite spot to study in? Comment below…