Tired of going to the uni library every day? 4 ideas to help you change up your study spot in the new year

Where do you like to study? In the library or maybe at home in your bedroom? Everyone is slightly different. We were curious what our community has to say about alternative study spots and so we asked some students how they like to mix it up.

The café and the anti-café

When talking to students part of LifeStart, cafés were nearly always mentioned as a good place to study. If you don’t like the deafening sound of silence, this is probably a great option for you.

Cafés come in all shapes and sizes. There are the independent cafés which often try to provide a certain ambience and if you’re into your coffee, many argue it’s often far better. Other students prefer going to high street chains, as they may have a more reliable Wi-Fi connection and it can sometimes be easier to blend in. The main drawback of a café is that if you’re planning to sit in their window seat all day, you’ll probably have to buy more than just an espresso and tap water to last you. That means this place can become a pricey alternative in comparison to studying at uni or home. Yet, for some it’s worth the cost.

If you wish to study in a café all day but don’t want to have to pay £4 every time you have a tea or coffee, then maybe look to see if you have an “anticafé” in your town or city.

Anticafés started out in Russia and you pay for the time you spend in the café, not what you eat or drink whilst you’re there. “I quite enjoy the vibe of studying at a café instead of the library where I can find it a bit silent and intense! I like that you can stay all day and [I’ve] never felt pressured to leave like you would in other cafés – and of course unlimited coffee is a plus! It’s much better value than going to a regular café and feeling like you need to continuously buy food/drinks to stay there.” said Alana R from LSE. Beware that “it’s definitely not something I could afford to do all the time, especially as a student as it’s still around £14 for the day. I mainly use them when I have a big deadline and I want to settle somewhere for the whole day and focus and taking advantage of the unlimited food and drink.”
You might appreciate to know that places like London, Liverpool, Dublin, Aberdeen and Manchester now have these working café spots which are made for freelancers and students to get work done with unlimited, tea, coffee and snacks. This isn’t a promise but the Wi-Fi is often quite reliable in these spots too.

Public Library

This is a spot that lots of us forget but can be a great resource. First and foremost, it’s free. Unlike Cafés where you’ll need to buy at least a tea or coffee to use the space and facilities, public libraries are free! They’re a resource for the local community so why not check out your local. All libraries will have Wi-Fi and even computer access if you don’t have your own laptop. Also like your library at uni, it’s a great resource for doing extra research and getting involved with local events or training workshops. See if there’s a local library near you.

Museums

If you’re living in London then museums should really be a no-brainer when looking for inspiring places to study. They’re free, have Wi-Fi and inspiration will be right at your fingertips. Also they can often be quite quiet, if you can avoid any school groups which may visit now and then.

Those who aren’t studying in London, museums unfortunately aren’t always free (but they’ll probably have a student discount of some sort!). It’s often not the first thought that springs to mind, but there might be a museum near your uni that is linked to your assignment. You may find the information is curated and laid out in a clearer way than if you searched the internet on your own and could give you an edge on that essay you’re writing.

Outside

Unfortunately being outside is very dependent on the changeable British weather, so maybe save this suggestion for summertime.

Keeping this in mind, being in the sunshine can really help motivate you and all these other great things to make revision or studying feel a bit less like hard work.

However, studying outside often needs a lot more organisation as you won’t have any plug sockets and will be unlikely to have access to free Wi-Fi. If you still need your laptop make sure it is fully charged and that you’ve downloaded any readings that you might need in advance. Also take physical things as a backup. Whether you’ve got a chapter of a textbook to study or exercises to fill in, these are perfect because you can do them from anywhere.

Are you already feeling inspired to leave your usual work space behind? Don’t hesitate to experiment with what works best for you before the deadline gets too tight and you’ll be stuck at your usual desk. You need to find out what works for you and try new things, maybe you prefer the café in the train station or somewhere that you have a view of greenery. Tag #lifestartidealab on Insta and let us know what your ideal work space is looking like.

Happy studying!