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Problems of a Modern College Student: Great Places to Hold Study Groups

Updated on February 1, 2016

"Where Should We Meet Up?"

If you’re pursuing (or planning to pursue) a technical major like computer science or engineering, a lot of your time will be devoted to cooperating with other people to finish projects, run through notes and prepare for tests. A question you will have to address as a member of the group is “Where should we meet up?” Depending on location, scheduling or just personal obligations, addressing this question can be quite difficult. Here are a couple of suggestions to help you figure out where to organize your next study group.

1) Library

The library has known to be one of the best-known and most conventional places for study groups due to its overwhelming positives.

Positives:

Digital and physical assistance:

Libraries hold tons of information in the form of books, E-books, pamphlets, CDs, DVDs and cassettes (for old school researchers). In addition, you can find material on almost any subject in the library. Assuming that you have a membership or library card, most of the resources can be freely checked out for a limited amount of time. So you and your study buddies have the luxury of taking resources home with you to better examine their contents. Finally, if your study group has issues in finding the right sort of information, a librarian is always ready to offer assistance.

Free Wi-Fi:

In order to keep up with the tech age, a lot of libraries offer free wireless connection. So students can get their information directly from their phones, tablets, etc. without leaving their seats. In addition, this added source of information gives your group the choice of viewing resources not readily available in the library.

Multi-purpose rooms:

Many larger, more popular libraries have special rooms for meetings and group study. These rooms have additional tools such as a white board and a projector, to make explaining difficult concepts a little easier.

Negatives:

Space:

Because the library is the first choice for many people, space and resources (i.e. reading material such as books and DVDs) tend to be scarce. So do not be surprised if your group cannot reserve a space to work or the resource you are looking for has already been checked out by someone else. Resources are especially limited during midterms and final exams so plan ahead of time. If you can reserve a space or reserve ahead of time, please do so.

Limited Hours:

Some libraries offer 24 hour access at particular times of the year (usually during final exams). Most libraries have very limited open hours. So I advise you not to put off doing important things that require you to visit the library, like studying. Seemingly easy things become increasingly hard to find when you are under stress.

2) Coffee shops/Fast Food Restaurants/Bookstores

An increasing number of restaurants, coffee shops and bookstores are becoming more and more student friendly. So if you do not like taking the conventional approach (i.e. visiting the library), here is a more social alternative.

Positives:

Store services: Along with free Wi-Fi, you can buy a Frappuccino from Starbuck’s or a Big Mac from MacDonald’s whenever you get thirsty or hungry. The products are open to you during open hours--for a “reasonable” price.

Atmosphere:

If you want to escape the conventional atmosphere of the library, a lot of coffee shops provide great music and an energetic crowd.

Accessibility:

Many of the more well-known businesses have a chain of stores littered throughout a particular area. So there is always more than one store to go to.

Negatives:

Space:

Space is a huge problem for these kinds of spots. Though many of these stores are spaced at various locations, they tend to be quite crowded. So you may be forced to visit different locations in order to find enough room to do group work.

Atmosphere:

The same way that atmosphere is a positive, it can also be a negative. Because these chains are also social hotspots, it can get a little rowdy. You have a better chance holding a conversation with someone than doing any serious studying. So do not try these areas if keeping focus is not your strong suit.

Paying Customers Only:

Remember that these stores are businesses. So do not expect to walk in and study if you do not intend to pay for something. Understand that you do stand a greater chance of being escorted out of these stores, if you do not buy anything.

3) Museum

Here is an area that not many students take advantage of. Museums are well-known for storing and exhibiting historical artifacts. However, some museums are becoming more and more conducive to student customers.

Positives:

Reserved areas for studying:

Some museums offer areas where groups can sit, read and discuss topics. However, not many students check with their local museums to see if these spaces are available. So a lot of these areas are not fully taken advantage of.

Free Wi-Fi:

Just like libraries and coffee shops, many museums are trying to keep up with the information age by offering free Wi-Fi. So visitors can walk through various exhibits without depriving themselves of information online.

Inspirational Exhibits and Refreshments:

If you and your team have a brain block, you can always visit some of the exhibits or get a bottle of Sprite from the museum gift shop. Sometimes a break is all the mind needs to function.

Negatives:

Free Wi-Fi restrictions:

Not all museums offer free Wi-Fi. Many of the museums that do are in the cities, so you might be out of luck if you live closer to the suburbs.

Parking Not Guaranteed:

Again, many of these museums are in the city. So do not expect to find free (or convenient) parking. You have a better chance trying your local library or coffee shop and skipping what might be a very costly drive. Have you seen the gas prices lately?!

Free Admission Not Guaranteed:

Many museums that offer free admission do so at a very specific time. So you, or a member of your study group, might want to contact your closest museum to see if, and when, they offer free admission.

4) Park

Sometimes, sitting in a confined space can make it hard to think. If anybody in your team is a little claustrophobic, the park might be a place to consider.

Positives:

Space:

In terms of having room to read and discuss about topics, the park is the ideal spot. In addition, parks tend to be free which brings us to the next point.

Free Admission:

All public parks are paid for by the residents of the area through taxes. This means free admission for your study group. You cannot beat free.

Negatives:

Cleanliness Can Be An Issue:

When it comes to upkeep, some of these parks have room for improvement. From smog to littering, it may be better for your study group to stay in an enclosed area. You reduce the chance of exposing your body to something harmful or unpleasant like nauseous fumes.

Safety Concerns:

Whenever a place is public, it runs the risk of attracting some shady people. Unlike museums and coffee shops that close their doors long before most of the guards go home, parks may be open during hours where security is minimal. So take the time to do research on the parks near you. Ask the park manager when it is safest to visit and exercise caution. Be wary of your surroundings and always have a fully charged phone for emergencies.

The Weather:

The weather is a force that very few people can successfully predict. One day can be sunny and cool while another can come with a heat wave and high pollen advisory. Before heading to the park, you may want to stay up to date with the weather forecast. You don’t want to be studying under a hail storm.

5) Home

Nothing beats home! Not only is this study spot convenient, it also includes some additional amenities.

Positives:

“Free” Wi-Fi:

There is a reason why “free” is in quotes. If not all, most homes and apartment complexes offer Wi-Fi that (once you have paid the monthly fee) is free for everyone else to use.

“Free” Refreshments:

Depending on whose home you are in, you can find what you need in the fridge. Just remember to ask first.

Surroundings Conducive to You:

If your study group is made up of close friends, you are sure to enter a home that will meet all your study needs. The only question is, can you keep yourself focused long enough to get some legitimate work done?

Negatives:

Amenities:

From the television to the bed, you are in a place where everything is set up to make you comfortable. Just do not get too comfortable. It is easy to find reasons to take a break when no progress is being made. However, how easy is it to get back to work after a game of Super Mario Maker on Wii U?

Noisy Neighbors:

Even if you can find the strength to control your actions, can you say the same about your neighbors? You might have a neighbor whose existence is defined by how miserable he/she makes you. If that’s the case, a simple plea for silence won’t help you. You have a better chance taking your studies somewhere else.

Distracting Family Members:

It is always nice to have family members close by. Family is the best sense of support after all. They can also be a little distracting. From your attention-grabbing dog to your overly-concerned parent, family can make hosting a study session at your home challenging. If you know that you will not be able to get any studying done with family around, the library might be a better alternative. Just let your folks know first.

You can see that all of these areas come with their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on each member’s circumstance (like travelling time, class scheduling and transportation), your group may favor the coffee shop over the library or the museum over the park. I hope this list inspires you to think outside of the box and come to a quicker solution for future group sessions. If there are any places that you were hoping to make the list, or if you just feel like saying “hi”, feel free to leave me with a comment. As always, I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Come back to view any future updates. See you soon.

Problems Of A Modern College Student Study Spots
Problems Of A Modern College Student Study Spots

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