Study Spaces

July 15, 2014

The best place to study is the one that makes you comfortable and productive. Depending on your habits and your personality, your needs may be highly specific. Fortunately, Grinnell has a wide spectrum of study spaces to suit everyone’s needs, so we’ll be ready for you once you enroll.

Close to Home

If you just want to get away — but not too far — your residence hall lounge will keep you close enough to your mini fridge to access your string cheese and hummus, but far enough away that you’re “getting out.”

Silence is Golden

Group talking beneath the oval lighting ring.
If you need silence when you study — not quiet, but serene, stifling silence — head to the fourth floor of Burling Library. You get the comforting, but not overpowering, smell of aging books and the sound of silence.

The “jungle gyms” are two-level structures on the first floor of Burling that give you two options. Do you want to feel safe, nestled inside the lower level, or do you want to survey your academic domain from atop one of these green-carpeted structures?

The Laurel Leaf Lounge in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center is a great place to study if you like it quiet but need white noise. The fireplace, flying-saucer-like hanging light, and cushioned furniture give the room the feel of a lodge inside a turret.

Social Silence

There’s always the possibility you could score an empty classroom after hours for yourself or a study group. The Alumni Recitation Hall is your best bet for availability, but Robert N. Noyce ’49 Science Center, the Rosenfield Center, and some of the smaller buildings offer a lot of options, too.

There are a lot of nooks and crannies in the Noyce Science Center that lend themselves to individual or group study. The most popular, though, is the elbow — technically the Ahrens atrium — at the southwest corner of Noyce. The space walks the line between private and public, and the huge panes of glass let in the low winter sun.

The Kistle Science Library in the Noyce Science Center is open to more than just science majors. Its four meeting rooms are excellent for group work, and the mezzanine offers privacy and a view.

Public Productivity

Students studying at outdoor tables.
If you want to be social while pretending to work, the Spencer Grill in the Rosenfield Center is where you want to go. Coffee and snacks fuel either inspired creative and academic conversations or debates over whose classes are harder. If you actually want to get work done, wear your headphones loud and proud.

If you want to add a little nature into your Nietzsche, just head outside. Mac Field and central campus have the most space, but the South Campus “beaches” — the green spaces that extend inward from dorms — have the best combination of sun and shade.

Too Comfortable

You already thought of this one: in your room. Even with a roommate, you’ve got your own space, your own things, and those sheets that still smell like home. Be careful, though. Plop yourself down on your bed and you may end up snoring rather than studying.

Off Campus

You don’t have to study on campus. One of the most popular alternatives, especially on the weekends, is Saints Rest Coffee House, a few blocks away. It’s a great place to take that short story you need to hammer out in one sitting, and the excellent coffee, friendly staff, and mellow atmosphere don’t hurt. Just be sure to take along your headphones if you don’t find coffee shop sounds conducive to studying.

Grinnell has no shortage of study spots, and there are plenty we haven’t mentioned. Whether you end up with a routine space or bounce all over campus, you’ll find somewhere that works for you.

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