My study spot

Just in time for midterms: students tell and show us where they like to study

Michelle G's study spot

By: Michelle Chiang, Michelle Gomez, Jennifer Low, Natasha Tar, Nathaniel Tok


Michelle C’s study spot

My favourite study spot is a quaint café and bakery called The Coffee Bun. Located in Coquitlam, a mere five-minute drive from my house, the café has just the right ambiance to study in. Their décor leans towards the natural side, with lots of wood tones and artificial greenery running throughout the store. Typically, there are only a couple of other patrons around when I arrive in the morning, so I can usually steal my coveted seat at the long table with the leather cushioned chairs.

I like to order a London Fog and their signature coffee bun before settling down. It’s here where I do most of the grunt work for my essays. With my planner and pens on one side and my food on the other, I get to typing out my first drafts. I don’t usually spend more than two or three hours there — that’s about how long it takes for me to finish that cup of coffee — but for those hours, I am absolutely focused. I’m able to get more done than I would spending an entire day at home. Not bad for six dollars.

– Michelle C


Michelle G’s study spot

I always like to study in an area that is quiet and full of light. There can be background noise as long as it’s nothing too distracting, like single voices — it’s too easy to accidentally eavesdrop and lose my focus. I like to have my laptop, my notes, my readings, and a variety of colored pens and highlighters laid out, so that everything is within reach. I keep snacks on hand to so that I don’t forget to eat while I am in the zone.

Note that my phone is purposely missing from this photo (and not just because I used it to take the photo). I hide it either in my backpack or in my basement if I’m at home. It’s just too tempting to constantly check on my texts and social media if it is sitting in front of me.

– Michelle G


Jennifer’s study spot

With a shelf lined with some of my favorite book series and a windowsill of succulents and cacti that I haven’t accidentally murdered yet, my desk is one of the places where I study the most often. It showcases my love of organization through my collection of whiteboards and planners, which I update on a daily basis.

My study routine usually begins with turning on some music and sitting down to quickly update my planner and whiteboard calendar. Often times, if I am feeling stressed, I will use my larger whiteboard to create a prioritized list that I call my “battle plan.” This helps me organize how I will get through the next week.

Before I get to work, I also have a collection of Darth Vader magnets that I use as a little mood tracker which I like to update. My most recent Dollar Tree visit yielded the three whiteboard magnets with the headings “Don’t Forget,” “To-Do,” and “When I get to it…” which I really like using to help plan out my study session.

– Jennifer L


Natasha’s study spot

My preferred study spot is calm and isolated. I know most people go to the quiet floors of the library for spots like this, but ever since I looked on the ground beside one of those library desks and found a pile of nail clippings, I haven’t been the same.

My favourite study spot is at the stone tables and benches beside the Robert C. Brown Hall, under Images Theatre. Although it’s cold in the fall and winter, the benches and tables are clean and protected from the rain. Even when the weather is nice, I don’t usually see people at this spot, maybe because the benches are frigid and literally rock hard. I usually take a coffee with me to fend off the chill, along with my planner, papers from class, and highlighters.

I take notes or draft out essays there because it’s easy to stay focused on boring tasks. There’s a little pond beside the area and it’s relaxing to watch the pond skaters and dragonflies when you’re taking mental breaks. However, there’s a room for tutorials right across from it, so bored students will probably be watching you.

– Natasha T


Nathaniel’s study spot

One of my favourite study spots is the basement computer lab, on the second floor of the SFU Library at the Burnaby campus. Being sort of below the surface, it’s sometimes overlooked by the other students, so it can be quieter than other places and it has more space available.

There are widescreen dual monitors for the Windows computers there, which I find easier to study with. There are also lots of charging ports, which is handy because my phone’s battery drains pretty quickly. The basement feel of the place also comes in handy during summertime since it’s a little cooler, and sometimes it even has air conditioning running. The second floor is also not a silent floor, so you can study with friends.

As for how I study, I usually have a physical copy of a textbook or the assigned readings in front of me, and then have note-taking software and lecture slides or notes open on two computer screens. I usually highlight important stuff in assigned readings and write important points from lecture notes by hand, since that helps me to remember things better. That way, when it gets closer to exams, I can study off my handwritten notes and highlights.

– Nathaniel T