It will become apparent quite quickly once midterms start that StFX students take their studies seriously. The lounges in the SUB, every floor of Angus (the library), Mini Moes, the pods in the Physical Science Centre, and even some classrooms will become crowded with students with their nose in their books. Once exams roll around, it becomes even more difficult to find a table to write your papers and engrain everything you’ve learned into your long-term memory. Here’s a list of some of the best places we’ve found to study, regardless of your sleeping cycle.
PSC Pods– If you don’t mind or prefer getting up early, these are great places to study! They have comfy benches, bright windows, and are relatively quiet because of how few people walk by. However, there aren’t many pods available so you’ll want to get there as soon as the building opens at 6am.
Good ‘ole Angus L. Macdonald Library– During exams it becomes quite normal for the line outside the library in the morning to reach daunting lengths. However, there are tons of tables available if you go with a couple friends and even more cubbies that are almost always available if you want to study in solitude. The library is great because it’s quiet and full of other people in the exact same (cramming) situation that you are. If you’re looking to write a take-home exam or an online exam you can even book specific study rooms to ensure peace and quiet for an hour or two.
The SUB– The Students’ Union Building is another popular choice because more noise is permitted than in the library. That makes it particularly useful for tutoring or group projects/studying. You’re free to talk out problems with your classmates without fear of glares from other studiers. It is also a good space if you like to stay up late into the night studying because the building’s hours increase past midnight during the exam periods. Specific places to study include the 4th floor lounge, the hallway by the computers on 4th floor, the MacKay Lounge on the 3rd floor behind the stairs, and the Bloomfield Café beside the Convenience Store on 2nd floor.
People’s Place Library– The public library often sits forgotten until exams when students scramble to learn everything they neglected through the year. It’s a gem in the middle of town with bright lighting and colourful murals to brighten even the dreariest of study days. The open atmosphere makes long study days much more bearable and it’s conveniently located close to Pacha Mama (for your coffee fix), Kenny’s Pizza (for an easy supper), and Shoppers (for a quick study snack). You’ll want to arrive when it opens, but that isn’t until 9am so you can still sleep in much later than if you chose another spot on campus to study.
Residence Lounges– Residence lounges often go overlooked because they’re not often perceived as “study spaces” but they can actually be quite useful. You can use them on your own hours, late into the night, early in the morning, or just for a couple hours here and there. You can bring as many snacks as you want, come in your pyjamas, bring blankets, pillows, friends, and more to really study as comfortable as possible.
Tall and Small Café– This small café on Main Street is very popular because of their amazing food and refreshing drinks. It’s an ideal place to come in the mid- to late- morning, grab a bite to eat, and study for a few hours. It can get pretty noisy so it’s best to bring headphones or for people who don’t mind noise while they study. Alternatively, it’s a great location for study breaks and quick catch-ups with friends who are also swamped with essays and exams.
Select Classrooms– During the exam periods the university will open up additional classrooms – usually located in Nicholson Hall – for students to use as quiet study spaces. Exact times and locations are e-mailed out to all students in December and April.
Schwartz– The basement and 4th floor have study rooms available to students. The breakout rooms on 4th floor are mostly soundproof and with glass walls and yellow walls the space feels really open. There’s also a large room on 4th where you can go to quietly study. The basement has a couple more breakout rooms and another open area with tables. Schwartz doesn’t allow food in their rooms, however, so you will need to take breaks to go grab something to eat elsewhere.
Loney Lounge– The Loney Lounge is located in the Oland Centre next to the auxiliary gym. It has a ping pong table, as well as some couches and tables where you can go study. This location is more popular with Human Kinetics students who are in the building anyway and more familiar with the classrooms, however all students are welcome to go there to study or take a break from academics in any of the gym facilities.
Coady Library– An often forgotten gem, the Coady Library (located in the Coady building behind Cameron Hall) is a good place to quietly study on your own. It is far less popular than either of the other libraries and therefore significantly less crowded. The couches are very comfortable, and the tables are spacious, but it might not be the best place to go if you need a computer.
Your room/house– Don’t underestimate how efficient you can be in the comfort of your own home! Most people choose to relocate to eliminate distractions, but there can be other ways to do that which don’t involve leaving your space. Some tips we find helpful include a. get out of bed. Find a table or desk to use so you can spread out your notes; b. study at your desk with your back to the room, this way you won’t be able to see possible distractions; c. eat and go to the bathroom before you start studying; d. set incentives for yourself- 20 minutes of Netflix after you nail a certain equation or read a chapter, or going out with friends if you spend so many hours studying. But don’t cheat! Only give yourself the reward if you complete the task. Studying at home really can be great if you use your time wisely. You’ll never need to worry about forgetting a book when you leave or finding some other excuse not to study.
Cafes– The Bloomfield Café in the SUB has both couches and tables where students can go to study. It’s a popular location between classes and around lunch time because of the great selection of wraps, burritos, smoothies, and grill food available. The MSB Café is newly renovated and therefore a great place to check out and experience for the first time among others. Mini Moes is a common choice among students looking to get their coffee fix. The comfy chairs and booth-like tables are often filled with students doing some readings between classes or while they wait for friends. Although noisier than some of the other cafes, you might still find you get more done there than if you went home in your free half hour. The Keating Centre Café has the best breakfast sandwiches so their tall tables and comfortable chairs are great if you’re an early riser. You may find it useful to stop by this café for a bite of breakfast and to brush up on some readings or review your notes before class.
Wellspring– Wellspring Centre is located within the same building as meal hall. Their entrance is on the outside, on the same wall as the Mini Moes door. The women who work there are incredibly welcoming and kind. They have couches, tables, carpeted floors to sprawl out on, prayer rooms, and kitchens. In fact, you can almost always find homemade cookies and tea available to snack on while you study. Wellspring is one of the few places that not many students venture into, but once they do, are hooked. Although run by Catholic nuns, it is open to all denominations and secular students who need a quiet place to relax, study, and just get away (while not needing to leave campus).
These are some of the best places to study around campus, but I’m sure there are more and even some hidden hideouts that upper year students treasure during their time at StFX. Don’t be afraid to ask you Residence Assistants, House President and Vice Presidents, and older students within your building and around campus what their favourite study spots are— you might just stumble upon a place no one’s found yet.
PS: Only 59 days until new student move in! Can’t wait to meet you all!