By Kate Daugherty
Issue 21, vol. 66 – click to view full issue here
With finals right around the corner, studying is taking up increasing space in students’ lives. There are many places on campus that are great for studying alone or with a group of friends, one of which is the newly renovated Everett L. Cattell Library.
The library features the Bailey Room, which is open to students 24-hours a day and provides a quiet space for students to study individually. The Bailey Room also offers access to computers and a printer.
“We have a multitude of areas for students to study alone, with friends, or in silence,” Mary-Ann Frischorn, circulation supervisor at the library, said. “[However,] we don’t consider ourselves a ‘shush library.’”
The first floor is designed with collaboration in mind; multiple tables meant for group discussions and progress on school assignments are in place, and students are welcome to talk with each other.
The second and third floors of the library offer some areas for individual focus and some for group studying as well, including separate rooms equipped with conference tables, whiteboards and other planning materials. While some of these group areas have capacity limits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Frischorn encourages students to utilize these spaces when preparing for finals.
The second floor of the library also houses the Center for Student Success, where students can go when seeking academic help. Free peer tutors are available for students in 100 and 200 level courses.
“I love to study [by myself and with tutees] in the new spaces in the library,” Faith Brenneman, a junior biology major and peer tutor for biology and zoology courses, said.
Tutoring-specific rooms are new to the library and feature whiteboard walls, computers and a monitor to help tutors and tutees review and learn course material.
Even this late in the semester, a peer tutor can help with the final push to the finish line. The “T” icon on Malone Xpress leads to a form to request a tutor, and the Center for Student Success will match a tutor to your needs. Some professors might also recommend a tutor for their course and can provide you with the information to contact them directly.
The individual studying spaces on the second and third floors can also be very beneficial. The west side of the second floor has individual rooms with a desk and charging outlets to study. Though these rooms are not soundproof, they provide a distraction-free area for students wanting to study alone.
Besides the library, another on-campus studying location that students can utilize is Emma’s Cafe, which is located in the Barn. Emma’s Cafe is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon and 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., though the study space and tables are accessible at all hours of the day.
“Emma’s has the feel of an off-campus coffee shop,” Erienne Ballard, junior nursing and global international studies double-major, said. “It’s quiet but has life with the low lighting and food options available to purchase. Overall, it’s a great place for students to hang out.”
Ballard finds Emma’s Cafe to be a great place to work on homework or review her notes, especially when she feels she needs a change of scenery from her off-campus apartment.
“Emma’s has that coffee shop vibe, and I don’t have to leave campus to go,” Brenneman said, also praising the atmosphere in the lower level of the Barn.
While studying nursing, Ballard has found that she has developed note-taking skills to help her not only understand the material from textbooks, but to prepare to apply that knowledge in the real world.
She recommends that if students are taking lecture notes in a notebook to only use one side of the page. Then after class, especially while reviewing for any exams, use the other side of the page for notes from the textbook to help understand where the concepts and examples connect, and where they go beyond the lecture.
“My main piece of advice, for any major, is to actually read your textbooks — they provide great insight and more details than professors will usually go into during class time,” Ballard said. “Also, use a planner to know what you have coming up and when you can get it done.”
Brenneman advises students to understand that there is a limit to how much studying any student can do, and making sure to take breaks between studying is important to avoid burnout.
“I will reward myself after I study for a while or take an exam; it may be just getting coffee somewhere, but it helps me relax and stay focused,” Brenneman said.
Ballard and Brenneman also both suggest finding online resources, which are sometimes provided through textbooks, to help study. Ballard takes practice quizzes to help develop her critical thinking skills. Brenneman will use videos, such as those from the YouTube channel “CrashCourse,” as she finds it easier to sometimes watch these videos to refresh the material than reading the textbook or going over notes.
No matter where or how students study for finals, starting early and utilizing the resources provided on campus and through classes is essential for success.