Tag Archives: productivity

The Ultimate Guide to UPC Study Spots

By Jonah Vroegop

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

It’s that time of the semester again! We are approaching finals week, and everyone is beginning to scramble to find a place where they can study and concentrate amidst all of the end of year chaos. As my final semester at USC is coming to a close, it seems only right that I pass on my accumulated knowledge of the best places on the USC main campus to work and study.

Doheny Bookstacks

The “bookstacks”, as they’re rightfully called, are where most of the books are located within Doheny Library. There are 3-4 underground levels of books on shelves, row after row. The ceiling is low, the smell of old books hangs in the air, and the silence is dominant. Scattered within these rows of books are small cubicles with a single chair and electrical outlet, as well as some tables where 2-3 people can work together quietly. For anyone like me who has trouble focusing in a noisy or stimulating environment, the bookstacks offer a quiet, air conditioned place to really get work done. You can enter the bookstacks from the Doheny Library front desk, just up the stairs from the main entrance.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Asa V Call Law Library

The law library is another great place for people who have trouble focusing to catch up on work or who want to get ahead on upcoming assignments. It offers a mixture of seating – some squishy booths for larger groups of 4-6, some wooden tables for singles or groups, and even some standing workspaces with high tables. There are 3 floors of silent workspaces with outlets and overall, the law library is one of the most newly renovated study spaces on campus. There is even a cafe in the basement that sells food and drinks (boba!!). There are very few people in the law library and it is close to great food and coffee options on Figueroa/Exposition for your study fuel. Disclaimer: the law library is open to law students only for a few select weeks of the semester during law exams.

Watt and Harris Hall Courtyards

At the architecture school, there are two main buildings – Watt Hall and Harris Hall. Each of these buildings has a large outdoor courtyard where students can sit and work, have a meal, or just relax and enjoy the day. On sunny days when I don’t want to be cooped up in the library or if I bring food and drinks with me to study, these courtyard spaces are my preferred place to be. There are tables outdoors as well as lots of grass and landscaped spaces to work behind the school (toward Exposition). The architecture library is also a great place to study (Watt hall basement). It has a design-forward atmosphere that is pleasant to work in, but it is currently under renovation.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Old Annenberg

Around the outside of the older Annenberg building, there are lots of individual and group study spaces to enjoy. Their are tables situated on on balconies and lining the walkways, and many of these tables have umbrellas to block the sun on bright days as well. With close proximity to the center of campus, these are usually very convenient places to stop and take care of a quick email or get some work done between classes. These spots are also not very well known and oftentimes entirely empty. There is also a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the cinema school nearby to this area for your snack and drink convenience.

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Online to in-person time management

By Alyssa Delarossa

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

As USC has mostly transitioned to an in-person learning format, the struggle to adjust from over a year of online and remote learning to in-person is well felt within the student body. One of the hardest adjustments for myself and other students I have talked to is time management. While time management during remote learning was a struggle and adjustment, time management for in-person classes has always been a struggle and an especially big adjustment for freshmen and other first-year students. I’m going to share some tips for time management that I find helpful and hope they either can be of use to you or serve as a source of inspiration to form your own time management habits.

  1. Planning
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Taking a bit of time to thoroughly plan my days out as much as I can has served me well when it comes to exams, assignments, club and organizational activities, and other deadlines that I have to meet. I usually do this by making to-do lists on my phone notes app and calendar, putting down the time and length for each task (emails, homework, study, etc). I even put planning and random tasks such as grocery shopping and grabbing a coffee, which I find to be super helpful.

2. Focus

Photo by Kyle Gregory Devaras on Unsplash

While taking the extra bit of time to thoroughly plan out your daily school and extracurricular activities can be extremely beneficial, this will not get you very far if you are unable to stay focused. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about attaining an all-day hours on end laser focus; everyone has different attention spans, so it’s about getting to know your own attention span and things that help keep your focus. For me, I usually like to get my work done in my room or if I do have to be on campus, I usually try to find a quiet place outside or in classroom halls (still hesitant to use the libraries due to COVID). I also find that I usually have to take short breaks in between studying and working. Other things that help my focus include pairing tasks with a particular time of day. For instance, I prefer to study for exams or complete assignments first thing in the morning or late at night. During the afternoon time, I find I am more productive at emails and extracurricular work. I also find that music helps me attain my focus, particularly pop and rock music. 

Continue reading Online to in-person time management

Op-ed: Hybrid Classes at USC: yay or nay?

By Tiffany Hsia

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, USC moved classes to an online format. Online classes have been a bit of a debated topic as some people love online classes and others feel strongly against them. Online classes allowed for flexibility during the pandemic and for students in different time zones to watch recorded lectures. However, on the other side of the coin, students faced Zoom fatigue as well due to little to no peer interaction, which is an integral part of being in school. I personally had mixed feelings about Zoom classes; it was nice to be able to go to school in my pajamas and to be with my family during the pandemic. However, I felt that I did not learn as well and I did not meet anyone new in my classes, and participation in classes was low. 

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Now that USC has moved towards in-person classes with hybrid options, I still have mixed feelings. Some professors have provided flexible options, allowing for students to choose online or in-person, while other professors did not. Personally, I love the idea of hybrid classes being a permanent fixture at USC. This allows for me to have both the peer-to-peer social interaction that I craved during the pandemic as well as the flexibility that I have grown to appreciate. 

One study from the University of Massachusetts showed that hybrid learning increased knowledge retention and that students perform better compared to online and in-person learning models. While hybrid classes have been a blessing, I am surprised USC did not enforce a hybrid option for all the classes during the fall 2021 semester. While it is understandable that some classes need to be in-person such as ceramics or music, I think that classes that are not as hands-on should have the flexibility of a hybrid model. A few of my professors do not even record lectures and require mandatory in-person attendance; however, I feel that this is not feasible as we are still in a pandemic. I was feeling a little under the weather one day and I was unable to pass my Trojan check questionnaire to get on campus, and as a result, I had to miss class. 

Photo by Philippe Bout on Unsplash

Overall, I believe that USC has pushed for in-person classes despite the ongoing pandemic. While USC does a good job of monitoring and requiring students to have their vaccine as well as testing weekly, there are still things USC can improve on. Hybrid options make the most sense to me as a student, as transitioning from a year of online zoom classes back to in-person was extremely difficult. I struggled with losing the independence that I had with online classes as well as waking up earlier to get ready to go to school due to my 20-minute commute to class. While I see the benefits of hybrid learning, I understand it is not for everyone, as it requires strong organizational and time management skills and technological limits. If USC is able to better support students, I think for the most part students would be amenable to a hybrid learning model.  It is truly the best of both worlds as students can go on campus when they want and enjoy in-person interactions but also attend class online if they are busy or unable to physically be in school at the time. 

Featured Image by Dom Fou on Unsplash

Tiffany is a senior studying Health and Human Sciences with a minor in Economics on the pre-physical therapy track. She is originally from San Jose, California, but has lived overseas in Shanghai and Taiwan. She speaks Mandarin and conversational Spanish. On campus, she is a member of Science Outreach and a research assistant at the USC Brain and Creativity Institute. Tiffany loves traveling, going to the movies, trying new foods, and spending time with friends.