Western junior Paul Cyr studies inside Wilson Library 4 Central, also called the "Harry Potter Room," Thursday, Jan. 6.

A Little Noise
For those of you who like to open your binders or cough freely as I do, spaces with subtle noise can be ideal and perhaps less intimidating for studying. Lower levels of the library such as the skybridge or Zoe’s Bookside Bagels provide the foot traffic and ambient noise. Other on-campus locations could be dorm lounges, markets during later hours and even dining halls during their “Light Lunch” hours. Computer labs are also a nice option if you can find a free computer. But beware of those who speak loudly, groups working on projects, that person who hums out loud, people on their cell phones and the possibility of printer malfunction, all of which I’m sure we all have come into contact with on several occasions.


[caption id="attachment_3274" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="Western seniors Justina Macdowell (left), and Matt Fishbaugher study inside Zoe's Bookside Bagels Thursday, Jan. 6."][/caption]

Off Campus
A concept I never considered until last year was studying off campus. I had been living on campus for two years and naturally always gravitated towards the library. It’s amazing the change of pace there is off campus, the ease of working in a coffee shop or café where everyone isn’t doing the same thing you are. Instead of seeing other students furiously flipping through note cards or their fingers pressed against their foreheads, you see an elderly man with his service dog or two old friends catching up over bagels and coffee.


The downside? Studying off campus almost guarantees distraction, especially for those of you who love to people watch. However, the change of pace and scenery can provide you a break.


Finding the right study location comes down to four main things: distractions, lighting, resources and noise. What are possible distractions you could face? How well-lit is it? Do you need resources close to you? What kind of noise level can you tolerate? It is never too late to change up your routine and try something new. And when all else fails, you can still stick to whatever has worked for you.