The life of a college student is pretty hectic. If you have several hours to spare in between classes, finding a good place to study is essential to getting work done. Whether you like being outside under the sun or inside a building with plenty of lounge room, there’s always a spot to meet your preferences. Here are some of my favorite places on campus to study or simply relax.
Nazarian Pavilion Courtyard
Located behind Doheny Library, Nazarian Pavilion Courtyard is a great place to study while being conveniently located next to the coffee shop Literatea. This tucked away patio has a handful of seats enclosed by the library’s brick-red walls. Grab a drink or snack and settle down in this secluded courtyard for a couple of hours.
Located outside of the USC Thornton School of Music, Queen’s Courtyard is a grassy park that is frequently occupied by music school students. Shaded beneath a canopy of trees, this is the perfect spot to study, nap, or picnic whilst being surrounded by the faint sounds of instruments playing.
Hoose Library of Philosophy
Probably the quietest of USC’s libraries, the Philosophy Library is located on the top floor of the Mudd Hall of Philosophy and is a beautiful place to study completely undisturbed. Situated near the Metro Expo line, this library has an ancient ambiance aided by chandeliers and colorful stained-glass windows. There are seats tucked away between bookshelves, making for the ideal spot to study indoors without any distractions.
Verna & Peter Dauterive Hall
The relatively new Verna & Peter Dauterive Hall is a clean and spacious indoor space that is great for studying. There are plenty of chairs and sofas on the lowest level that offer a comfortable getaway from the bustle of campus center. A beautiful long glass piece hanging from the ceiling makes the interior somewhat reminiscent of a quiet shopping mall.
Located near the Viterbi School of Engineering, Archimedes Plaza is the ideal place for students to get some work done. Shaded by cardinal umbrellas, this spot offers fountain views and close access to the engineering library as well as the engineering school classrooms. It is particularly convenient for students studying in STEM classes who might wish to get a bit of fresh air between classes.
It’s that time of year again. We’ve pushed through finals, labored on final projects, completed all of our assignments for the semester just in time to…sit at home. So this isn’t exactly the beginning of the summer that we all had planned. With events being rescheduled, trips being postponed, and internships and jobs being canceled or modified, many people are at a loss as to what they can occupy their time with for the next month or so. It is very easy to fall into a trap of sitting around, watching Netflix and scrolling on your phone for hours, but at the end of the day that won’t make you feel better about staying at home. What will make you feel better is engaging in activities that will either pull you away from a screen or which are productive and/or creative. I have listed below a few ideas, some large and some small, for activities and goals to work on during this sometimes frustrating time period.
Establish a Workout Routine
Creating a workout routine is an easy way to get out of the house and stay active during quarantine. For some people, not having access to a gym is upsetting, and for some, it has made little to no difference in their daily lives. I would encourage everyone, however, to create some sort of small but consistent workout routine to implement into your day. If you choose to work out around the same time every day, you have suddenly added some structure to your day that mimics the structure of normal daily activity, and it can lift your spirits significantly. Even if your workout consists of just taking a jog around your neighborhood, it gives you a chance to get some fresh air. Plus, it will make relaxing and watching your favorite show feel more acceptable because you spent part of your day going out and doing something.
Learn to Cook Something New
This is an activity that not only eliminates the time you spend in front of a screen, but is rewarding because it leads to a final product: food! It doesn’t matter what level your cooking skills are at, there are recipes all over the Internet for everyone from beginners to master chefs. While cooking can be laborious sometimes, it is an activity with endless possibilities that can be catered to your specific tastes. The best part is, once you learn a new recipe and try it a couple of times, you will have something new to cook or bake for your friends and family once quarantine is over!
We all love music. We also all know the feeling of looking for that perfect song to match your mood while walking to class or work and then failing to find it. Making playlists takes a surprisingly long amount of time, and finding new music is equally time consuming. Making new playlists, naming them, and choosing a cover photo for them can be quite fun. It also feels highly productive because it is a way to organize something that you spend a lot of time with. I would personally recommend using Spotify to create playlists, and one of my favorite ways to find new music is by searching up playlists by the mood I’m in or going on Youtube and watching videos where people share the music they are listening to currently. This is a never-ending task that can be a lot of fun.
Edit Your Resume, Cover Letter Template or LinkedIn Profile
This suggestion is probably the least fun but also probably the most productive. Editing your professional documents and profiles is a detailed and time-consuming process, one which we push to the side a lot of the time during the busy school year or work day. Now there is no excuse to keep neglecting this task. There is always more editing that can be done, and perfecting these documents can be very helpful before returning to class and work. There are innumerous resources that can give suggestions on how to make edits, and there is no better time than now to make use of them.
Read a Book
Forgot you can do that outside of school? Sometimes we all do. Most students spend a lot of time reading materials for classes, and sometimes those readings are books but sometimes they are textbooks or documents. Regardless, so much reading can sometimes take up the time we could normally use to read for fun. Now is the perfect time to crack open a good book on a topic you’re interested in. Curling up with a good book inside or outside can pull you away from all of the distractions of social media and the internet, and can make you feel like you did something creative and productive during the day. It doesn’t really matter what you read, just engaging with a material outside of technology can be rewarding.
Play a Card Game or Board Game
If you are quarantining with family, a roommate, or a friend, playing some type of strategy game can be a great way to engage your mind in a challenging task. Oftentimes we forget about the board games we have stored away at home, and playing a game can be a great way to bond with the people around you at this time. If you don’t have any games at home, a deck of cards is very inexpensive and can be found at your local Target or on Amazon. There are dozens of card games, and learning how to play one of them is a fun skill to have. Some games that are quick to learn but challenging to play that I would recommend are Cheat, James Bond, Egyptian Ratscrew, or Slapjack. You can find tutorials for these anywhere online.
Start a Film or Show Review Club
This last suggestion is a great way to transform the time you already might be spending watching Netflix into a social activity. Get a group of people together and decide on a list of movies or episodes of a TV show to watch, and then schedule a meeting time via Zoom to watch the show or movie at the same time and then talk about it after. If it is too hard to coordinate a time to watch an entire film together, then just schedule a time to talk about it together so everyone can watch the film when it is convenient for them. This way, you have something social to look forward to even while you are just sitting at home relaxing.
While these can be difficult and trying times, taking advantage of the time spent at home can help you to adopt a new way of thinking about the whole situation. Many of us may never get an extended period of time spent at home like for a long time after quarantine is over, so spending time with family, relaxing, and learning new things can make this time more enjoyable than you might think. Stay safe!
Natalie Grace Sipula is a Philosophy, Politics, and Law major with a Spanish minor and plans to pursue a career in law or research science. She is a rising sophomore from Cleveland, OH and is a Presidential Scholar studying in Thematic Option. Natalie is an active member of Phi Alpha Delta (Director of Recruitment) and QuestBridge Scholars. Growing up she was dedicated to theatre, including studying and performing at Cleveland Play House. She graduated high school as a Global Scholar, Mock Trial state competitor, and Varsity Cross Country team member. She is a volunteer camp counselor with Mi Pueblo Culture Camp in Cleveland. Since arriving in Los Angeles she has enjoyed volunteering with City of Angels Pit Bull Rescue and in her free time enjoys reading Russian and ancient Greek literature.
Academic and Professional English Language Instruction