Students seem to approach studying in different ways, even though they all have the same goal of making the grade and passing the class. Some students prefer to study in isolation, with no one to distract them. These studiers are the independent types, relying on their own notes and materials, cutting out the distractions to get the maximum amount of time to cram.
Other students choose to work in study groups of two or more people. Bouncing ideas, answers and concepts off of another person can be valuable when the test is right around the corner.
Michael Klymkowsky, professor and co-director of CU Teach, a program designed to give students handson experience with teaching and learning, says, “The environment which students are in impacts not only how they study, but what they study. Different environments offer a different vibe, and thus promote a different mood. Some students find themselves easily distracted and will therefore find the need to be in a quiet place, such as the library. However, other students may need motivation, and they will find studying in common areas such as the UMC or in the Engineering Center more useful because in these places they can talk to their friends and hold study groups.”
But no matter what kind of studier you are, there are plenty of hideaways and sweet study spots to choose from that will help you live up to your best learning potential.
For bookworms who want to ditch the dorms, there are some great coffee shops and cafes that are the perfect study environment if you are not going to take the library route.
The Bookend Café at 1115 Pearl St. is a favorite for many students. It is a quiet study environment, and has light music playing for ambience. There is a variety of food and snacks for students to choose from, as well as indoor and outdoor seating and Wi-Fi. Another intimate spot is Trident Booksellers Café at 940 Pearl St.
If you want to grab a bite to eat while you hunker down with the books, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Noodles & Company offer free Wi-Fi and are great for study groups.
Coffee shops like Folsom Street Coffee or one of the 12 Starbucks in Boulder are perfect places to get hyped up on caffeine and do some studying with free Wi-Fi. Buchanan’s Coffee Pub, located on the corner of Broadway and Pennsylvania, is said to be the best place to study on the Hill, but it can be hard to find a place to sit (and park).
For people who want a diverse, on-campus study environment, the University Memorial Center (UMC) is a great pick to meet a group or study solo. The UMC offers a variety of food options, from Domino’s to Jamba Juice to the Alfred Packer Grill. If you need to jones up on some coffee, Baby Doe’s has got you covered. The UMC is a great place for meeting up with study buddies because it has tables and you don’t have to be library-quiet, but it can get loud, which may be distracting to some.
“The Women’s Studies Cottage and the fifth floor of the UMC are great places to get away from the UMC crowd and study,” says CU journalism student Joy Hamilton.
For the freshmen who haven’t found their niche in Norlin Library or the UMC and want to stay in the dorms, but can’t study over their roommates’ jam sessions, there are other places in the dorms that may suffice.
“I like to study in the dorm laundry rooms because I can get away from the noise and throw a load in,” says Madalyn Starkey, a CU freshman living in Willard. Learn something while doing a load of laundry — sounds pretty efficient.
There are also a few libraries on campus that students may not be aware of. The University libraries include five branches — Business, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Math/ Physics and Music — located around campus. Be sure you know if they have major restrictions. Check the university libraries website at www. ucblibraries.colorado.edu for more information.
“Both Norlin and the UMC are good, but quite different, places for studying,” says Klymkowsky. “There are very good places scattered around campus, like various areas in MCDB. Another great example is the BioLounge in the basement of the Museum building, which provides a very cozy place for reading and thinking.”
For most students at CU, the place to go when you need to buckle down and hit the books is none other than Norlin Library. And to top it off, Norlin has a coffee shop in it, The Laughing Goat. The Laughing Goat is located in the Norlin Commons, on the east side of the first floor, and offers coffee, tea drinks, cakes, brownies, chocolate, salads, burritos and sandwiches — any study goodies that you need to keep you going when you are on your last leg.
Norlin is a giant playground for the studious and offers a number of areas for the independent studiers, as well as places that welcome study groups with tables, chairs, couches, desks and cubbies.
The library has a plethora of resources, from reserve desks to writing centers. There are various ITS computer labs — Mac and PC — scattered throughout the library’s five levels. Unfortunately, since Norlin is one of the best study areas in Boulder, it is also the most popular, and during nail-biting finals time, it fills up quickly.
Klymkowsky advises students new to the college environment to remember one thing.
“Whether you study in a group or regularly get help from your professor, you are responsible for your own learning, and you will be the one who needs to demonstrate that understanding on an exam,” he says. “Thus, make time for individual and group study sessions and make sure you can solve problems or explain concepts without the help of a solutions manual or another person. It is easy to fool yourself into thinking, ‘Oh yeah, that makes sense — I could do that,’ when looking at the worked-out solution. Students who are just beginning to learn a subject often overestimate their abilities and quit studying too early.”