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Top 5 study spaces

It's time to get back into it after study break

- February 26, 2014

Where's your favourite place for filling your brain? (Ellsworth Bell photo, sourced via Flickr under Creative Commons licence)
Where's your favourite place for filling your brain? (Ellsworth Bell photo, sourced via Flickr under Creative Commons licence)

How did you spend your study break? Being an English major, I guess it should be no surprise that, despite being in Cuba, I actually finished a few novels (yes, I actually read during Reading Week). OK, it was actually only one novel (the beach was calling), but it was fantastic: Jennifer Eagan’s A Visit from the Goonsquad. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

If you did some school reading during your break, bravo! If not, it’s time to get back into it, kick the brain into high gear, and end the school year with a solid finish.

We all know it’s important to make a plan, give yourself breaks, turn your phone off, and just get ’er done. But, in my opinion, the crucial ingredient is your study space. It’s more than just finding a place that makes you productive, it’s finding one that will enhance and inspire your work. So, in no particular order or sense of objectivity, are five great spots on or around campus in which to study:

1. Killam Library


  • Mounds of studying resources including research material, librarians, Writing Centre, and study rooms that you can reserve.
  • It’s as quiet or loud as you want (i.e. stacks vs. learning commons).
  • Endless supply of [insert your favourite Second Cup beverage here].


  • You can’t pull all-nighters here (although the Night Owls program helps for exams).
  • Menacing glares if you crinkle your chip bag too loud.
  • Occasional infiltrations of high school students.

2. King’s Library


  • Many leather-bound books and smells of rich mahogany.
  • Nobody will know you, so you’ll have no disruptions from friends.
  • Adequate lighting and power sources.
  • The lower level has bunker-type study desks.


  • Minimal computer/printing/scanning resources.

3. Your place (or a friend’s)


  • All the comforts of home: your favourite couch, all the study snacks in your cupboard, your bookshelf, and study notes all in one place.
  • Budget-friendly.


  • All the distractions of home: your suddenly too-comfy couch making you sleepy, food calling to you from the pantry, Walking Dead just came on and all your roommates are watching.
  • What are the chances of your roommates helping you with additional research?

4. Coburg Coffee (or other coffee shops)


  • Low-key, relaxed work environment. The low-level chatter can invigorate creativity.
  • Yummy paninis with which to reward yourself for being so studious.
  • You can easily convince friends/classmates to meet here and swap ideas.


  • People watching can be a hefty and time-consuming distraction.
  • Someone can spill hot cappuccino on you/your laptop/your work.
  • You’ll likely run into everyone you know in Halifax.

5. Mona Campbell Building study rooms


  • Excellent natural light in window rooms.
  • If you need to do further research, you’re a stone’s throw from the Killam.
  • Whiteboards for working out problems.
  • Comfy seating and lots of desk space.
  • Extremely quiet setting enhances concentration.


  • You’ll have to rise at the crack of dawn to seize a room.
  • The tasty allure of Topio’s pizza.

Depending on your workload and your deadline, choose your environment accordingly. If your have an assignment due tomorrow morning, it’s probably not the best idea to work on it at home where you’re prone to distractions. Conversely, if you’re brainstorming for a project or a poem, maybe check out a local coffee shop to glean some inspiration.

So this is just my list of good study spaces. What are yours? Leave a comment and let me know.


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