This December exam period marks my seventh set of exams at Queen’s University as a supposedly ‘experienced’ Economics student, and I’ve learned through the years of the unique places on campus to study without being disturbed. The goal of today, therefore, is to present the top ten places to study on campus. This list has been narrowed down, honed, and refined over the years has been defined by many all-nighters, a strong energy drink addiction, and numerous run-ins with Campus Security.
10. Tom Harris Student Lounge and EngSoc Offices (in the ILC)
Many of the stressed out students I’ve studied with have always expressed a deep desire to study at the Tea Room. It has a perfect atmosphere of ambient music, the smell of coffee, and food every 15 minutes as study break. The problem is that it is smaller than a Res room and the tables fill up faster than the line at Crunch Brunch. The solution? Go across the hall with your food to the Tom Harris Student Lounge. It has comfier furniture, more study break distractions, and there is a very small chance that anyone else knows it’s there.
Pro-tip: Use the Purple Mache Engineering mannequin to save your spot when you need to run to the washroom (which can be impossible to find).
9. Vic Hall Laundry Room
Some of us may recall from first-year the bottom floor of Vic Hall. Many memories are forged at the Lazy Scholar, many more are forgotten at the COR, but for the most nostalgic moments are studying in the Laundry Room. Now a fourth year student, it is significantly harder to get access to the Laundry Room, but if you do dash your way to the promised land you will be blessed by the perfect study atmosphere: the warm chugging of the driers, the rumbling of the washing machines, and a faint smell of Dove laundry detergent combines for a study calm of nirvana-esque quality.
Pro-tip: If you get cold or need to sleep, pull someone’s clothes out of the drier early and enjoy. If you get any angry first years distract them with a Lazy Riser.
8. Ban Righ Dining Hall
Coming in at number 8 is a popular destination for many of us, but it deserves a mention anyway. Ban Righ provides a haven with plenty of table space and a plethora of food. The well-known trick in first-year to preserve meals is to spend the day in Ban Righ: you pay for entry once and eat three times. Ban Righ is also an excellent location for study breaks. Put down your text book and soak in your neighbouring tables’ conversations at first-years debate and complain about everything from roommate etiquette to exam strategies.
Pro-tip: If there is a line at the bathrooms scream “21 Gun Salute!” and the line-up will clear like University Avenue after a fire alarm has been pulled.
7. The JDUC Walkway
Many enterprising Queen’s students have discovered the JDUC as premier study space. The combination of comfortable new furniture and a PA system with a penchant for playing Tegan and Sara sets the body and soul up for an eight hour cram session. The problem is that the site is becoming too popular and the dilemma is how to take advantage of the JDUC’s environment and location (Hello QP/CoGro study breaks!) when it is so busy. The solution is the JDUC walkway. Never heard of it? Look up. The walkway, where you normally see posters hanging, is one of the few untouched areas. Simply bring your own beanbag chair and curl up for a long study-week.
Pro-tip: Use your height advantage to monitor the line of QP and Walkhome – you’ll never have to wait in line again.
6. The PEC
Ever wonder what it would be like to have the gym to yourself? How about three? The old Physical Education Centre is the perfect location for solitude interspersed with embarrassing athletic displays without being disturbed. As long as you bring your own light source and don’t mind habituating a space that seems ripe for a zombie breakout scene, you and several dozens of your friends can enjoy a premier location on campus with none of the people.
Pro-tip: If the zombie breakout does happen, there’s a blue light in the basement. Use sparingly and remember to remove the head or destroy the brain.
5. The New Medical Building
What do cadavers and med school students have in common? They’re too focused on doing their thing to bother you and yours. Not only is the Medical Building one of the nicest on campus, it is close to Botterel Hall cafeteria and the BioSci Tim Hortons.
Pro-tip: Most of us self-medicate with coffee and energy drinks. Meds students have the good stuff…
4. Bio Sci Green Roof
Similar in location to #5, the Bio Sci Green Roof can be your own sea of tranquillity in the pandemonium that is study week. While much like a time traveler, you have to be careful not to step on any butterflies, the Green Roof gives you a prime view of campus and the feeling of summer.
Pro-tip: It may look like fruit, it might smell like fruit, the label might even say fruit, but it’s a chemical experiment to combine the tobacco plant and the tomato plant. Nothing good can come from Tomacco.
3. KCVI Library
I would be remiss if I didn’t have at least one library on a study list. Unlike Stauffer which is always interrupted by outbreaks in songs or Douglas Library which has become way too popular since non-muggles started using it, KCVI Library always has one seat open. The only problem is the seats are a little small…
Pro-tip: The Chronicles of Narnia are an excellent study break.
2. Wherever Your Professors Go For Lunch
While some sleuthing is required, this location is quite key. Casually eavesdrop as your professors discuss what will be on the exam, what essay theses they look forward to the most, and what their favourite type of latte is. All can be leveraged for a stress free exam period.
Pro-tip: Please don’t do this. Academic integrity is important.
1. Grant Hall Clock Tower
If you don’t mind wind speeds similar to that of a tempest, the clock tower in Grant Hall is the best study spot on campus. Although difficult, to access, the Clock Tower of Grant is isolated and offers a stunning view of campus. The space can be cramped, and if you forget a pen or a pencil it is extremely frustrating, but nothing beats the ability to turn back the clock and fit in five more hours of studying.
Pro-tip: Need to get to the bottom floor for your exam and only have two minutes? One word: rappel.
Vice-President, University Affairs (2011-12)