As an ancient ward of the University (also known as a Take Five Scholar), I have completed my journey towards academic nirvana. Days melt into nights, nights melt into frat parties, and frat parties melt into Mt. Hope Diner runs, yet I remain enlightened in all walks of my River Campus life. And here, within these few words, I hope to pass on my wisdom to you, so you, too, may arrive at the Final Truth. 

And by that, I mean knowing the key study spots on campus. Read carefully, for just as manners maketh man, study spaces maketh GPA ranked from Meliora to Malaria.

Meliora

The Great Hall is a cult classic. Archaic, strong, and rich long tables fill this warm space, drawing any and all into the depths of learning. The beautiful high ceiling and historic splendor, not to mention the proximity to the all-gender bathrooms, makes this premium real estate. Beware: Foul academics may choose to assume ownership of an entire table, rendering others incapable of appreciating the warm embrace of the many University presidents and trustees that grace the walls. 

Edgy, alternative, and snug, the Art and Music library is the crown jewel of River Campus Libraries (know your place, POA and Carlson). The perfect blend of quiet and color, Art and Music offers to the humble academic what no other place can. From the comfy couches and private rooms to loaner game consoles and indie films, it’s easy to lose yourself in the intoxicating seclusion of this library’s limited seating. Not to mention, Connections is right around the corner. This, kids, is where you need to be. 

It hurts me so to tell you of my secret, but the Final Truth is for all to hear, and for none to hold. Twice a year during reading period, the legendary Rare Books Library, located on the second floor of Rush Rhees, will open its gates and let us peasants into its beautiful conference room. Heavenly seats, pristine shelves, and a long, polished table all scream bourgeoise, and you can’t help but bang out a page or 18 for your final assignment. 

Meloria

Starbucks is a true chaotic neutral. For the young’uns on campus, the new Starbucks is the only reality you know. But we older folks are of a different time, a time when Starbucks was stocked with big armchairs, soft cushions, and ultra-mellow vibes. And yet, even in the absence of all those excellent amenities, I can’t bring myself to hate the new Starbucks. Starbucks is a state of mind, not a location. The hustle and bustle, the smell of coffee, and the hip vibe of a café brings out an artist in me. Starbucks, new or old, didn’t do much for the STEM in me, but some of my best writing was done on those old scratched tables, and I am certain that a lot of my writing will continue to be done within the new bright and vibrant walls. 

A notable downside: This place will devour your Declining.

Malaria 

Populating this  accursed category is Gleason library. This hive of misery is good for one thing: nothing. The crusty furniture, the questionable sanitation, and the terrifying conversations found in this place are guaranteed to leech you of your sanity (and your spot on the dean’s list). 

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This list is far from extensive. Truly, there is an incredible number of places one can perform the sacred learning rituals. This list offers the spaces that I find to be the most important, where I have done some of my best — and worst — work. May my wisdom guide you well, and may the Final Truth help you achieve perfection in your academic zazen.



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