Editorial | Study spots on campus officially ranked

With finals season and term deadlines rapidly approaching, it can seem impossible to find a seat at your favorite study location. With the stress of everything piling up, the last thing you need is to be unable to get your work done.

We’ve put together the following list of our five favorite and five not-so-favorite study nooks on campus to help you find the perfect spot to crank out those papers, put the finishing touches on those projects or prepare to ace those exams. 

Spots to check out

1. You can never go wrong with the Main Library; it has everything you’ll need to study efficiently. The long wooden tables provide more than enough space for you to spread out. The chairs are just comfortable enough to ensure you won’t have to get up to stretch constantly but not so comfortable you run the risk of dozing off. Outlets for all of your charging needs are also readily available.

2. On a pretty day, the Main Quad is the place to be. A nice breeze, fresh air and a little sun can work wonders on putting you in a productive mood. Bring your laptop, some headphones and a blanket to sit on and you’ve got it made in the shade. (Or in the sunshine, depending on where you position yourself.) Watch out for frisbees, though.

3. With its abundance of natural sunlight and comfy chairs, the fourth floor of Grainger is always a winner for hardcore study sessions. Whether you’re by yourself or with friends, it has a place for everyone to sit. Here, you’ll never have to worry about your phone or laptop dying because there are outlets everywhere you look. Just make sure you get there early because it can get crowded!

4. For those of you who like to study with the aroma of coffee swirling in the air, Espresso Royale might be your happy place. The consistent small talk and the mechanical whir of the various blenders and grinders make for excellent background noise. What’s not to like about artsy little tables and hot, exhaustion-erasing beverages right at your fingertips?

5. Curled up on one of the relaxing chairs or couches in the basement atrium of the English Building, you’ll never want to leave. In the perfect balance of quiet and noise, you can get your work done, virtually distraction-free. The atrium never houses more than a few dozen students pounding out assignments, and the intimate space is great for solo study sessions.

Spots to avoid

1. There’s a reason Grainger Library gets a bad reputation, and it’s because of the basement. With its lack of natural light, dingy tables and the Computer-Based Testing Facility, it definitely gives off a dungeon vibe. If you have your heart set on Grainger though, have no fear. If you take a look at the good list, we highly recommend the fourth floor for studying.

2. Only under the most dire of circumstances would we suggest attempting to study in the basement of the Illini Union. Not only is it loud and ceaselessly busy with foot traffic, it is also difficult to find a seat at one of the over-crowded, crumb-ridden tables. If you need a place for a quick bite or a meet-up with some friends, this is the place, but as far as study spaces go, this one shouldn’t even be considered.

3. Dorm lounges on campus are great for many things. However, studying is not one of them. Either they’re so packed and noisy you can’t hear yourself think let alone solve those double integrals, or they’re so empty and devoid of students there’s nothing stopping you from guiltlessly streaming Netflix. Neither scenario promotes the type of studying needed for success.

4. Bubble tea is a Campustown favorite, but if you’re hoping to study at a spot where you can enjoy it, avoid Latea Bubble Tea Lounge. While the drinks are good, the seating is limited and uncomfortable and the atmosphere is cold and empty. The space in general is far too packed to allow for the level of focus required for effective studying. If boba and studying absolutely go hand-in-hand for you, consider Kung Fu Tea or Teamoji instead.

5. The Undergraduate Library may be the natural choice for a lot of people, but it actually is a terrible study environment. The struggle of finding a seat, the horrible lighting and the uncomfortable chairs all add up to make a horrible option when you’re trying to crush your finals. With tons of better study spots (and libraries) on campus, the UGL probably falls at the bottom of the ticket.

With this list, we hope we’ve eliminated the stress of having to find the perfect place to study during finals. Good luck, everyone!