Tag Archives: study spots

Beyond Tisch: The Best Study Spots Around Campus

Written by Brenna Gormally, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

With finals week rapidly approaching, finding the best nooks and crannies around campus is crucial for cozy and efficient studying. Over my years at Tufts, I’ve searched for these spots and I’m happy to share them here.

The OG: Tisch Library

I can’t ignore the good old library on the Medford campus. To me, there’s something special about libraries that make you feel more productive. I think it’s probably all the other people working around you that makes you feel guilty for getting distracted. There are plenty of carrels on the bottom floor of Tisch and lots of great tables for group work. One of my favorite things is that there are quiet areas where you can go for extra focus. There is also a late-night study room that is open until 3 am most nights. Not that I condone pulling lots of all-nighters, but sometimes you have to. Oh, and to fuel those late nights, Tower Café is open until 1 am on weeknights!

Grad Students Only

Did you know that we have not only one, but two on campus graduate student lounges? These are located in West Hall and Curtis Hall and are open 24 hours a day; accessible with your Tufts ID. Both locations have free printing and mini cafes with snacks, coffee, and tea. In West Hall, there are now seven brand new carrels for extra focused studying. Curtis Hall can also be reserved for graduate student events like meetings, board game nights, and ice cream socials. The best thing is that these spaces are only accessible to graduate students. So, when Tisch is getting too crowded with undergrads, head over to a lounge.

New Hot Spot: The SEC

The Science and Engineering Complex, abbreviated SEC, is a new building on campus that houses teaching and research labs and several departments. Contrary to its STEM-focused name, there are plenty of communal spaces that anyone can use. The atrium of the building is a beautiful space with plenty of natural light and lots of tables. Kindlevan Café is also located on this level which serves up delicious smoothies, hot lunches, and snacks. If the atrium is too crowded, head up to one of the other levels which has even more tables and white board walls!

Cafes Around Campus

If you like to work off campus, there are plenty of great cafes within walking distance. Tamper is located right on Boston Avenue. It’s your classic hipster café with communal tables, tasty lattes, and good vibes. Tamper also serves delicious food; when your brain needs a boost I recommend the chicken pesto sandwich. A little-known fact—Tamper is open for dinner on Wednesdays and serves delicious craft beers. Who doesn’t need a beer every now and then to complement their work? Finally, if you’re looking for a classic, Starbucks in Davis Square is a great option. It’s pretty much a standard coffee shop, but there’s an added bonus of a fireplace! This is absolutely perfect for when the weather gets chilly. 

Hopefully these options will give you plenty of options to make your finals week a success!

Where do I study on campus?

Vasanth 2-19-16 blog

Written by Vasanth Sarathy, Computer Science Ph.D. Candidate

One of my favorite parts about Tufts University is that it’s both a nurturing liberal arts school as well as a full-fledged research university. What that means for me, as a graduate student, is I can get personalized attention from my professors, collaborate with a smallish cohort of supportive classmates and also take advantage of the vast array of research opportunities that one might expect from a large university. What this also means is that graduate student life can get really really busy!

I’m a first year PhD student in Computer Science here at Tufts. I am returning to academia after having worked for a number of years as a lawyer. Long story! So, needless to say, I have a lot of catching up to do. I quickly needed to find cool study spots on campus where I can get my classwork and research done efficiently.

I realized that whenever I needed to find a study spot, I was always doing one of these three things:

  1. Thinking and “ideating”: when I needed ideas and creative insights to solve a homework problem, or explore a research idea.
  2. Discussing my ideas with colleagues and classmates: when I needed to talk about by ideas with friends, draw some pictures on a whiteboard and so on.
  3. Writing up an idea: when I needed to write up a draft of the paper, code or finalize my homework solution.

What I also realized was that these three types of tasks required very different study environments. I discovered that my best thinking and ideating happened in coffee shops, where there is a slight amount of background noise, but not too much to affect my stream of thought. Armed with my favorite micron pen, a yellow legal pad and mug of coffee Tamper (340 Boston Ave.) or Brown and Brew (474 Boston Ave.) or Tower Cafe (in the Tisch Library) can be perfect places to tap into that creative stream of consciousness. Oh, and they also have good coffee!

When I need a whiteboard to get my thoughts out there, I always find a spot in the lounge area in Halligan Hall (161 College Ave.) where there are not only whiteboards and chairs, but also other Computer Science students whom I can interrupt in for a quick clarification. Besides, a number of CS grad students have offices in Halligan and working there is a great opportunity for me to get to know my peers better. My own research group, the Human Robot Interaction Lab is at 200 Boston Ave (up the street from Halligan), and I am here a lot too.

Finally, when I need to buckle down and code or write up my paper or homework, I find myself escaping into the crypts of the Tisch Library stacks in the lower levels. There are some great quiet-study areas scattered there and can serve as an ideal get-away when I know what I need to do, but just need to get in the zone to get it done. Plus, being surrounded by books can be a great intellectual motivator!

This is by no means a comprehensive list of study spots and there are plenty of other spots around campus that Ipek and Rachel have elaborated in detail here and here. Rachel even suggests study spots matched by personality type, which is really cool! One place I plan to check out next is the Granoff Music Center (20 Talbot Avenue).

Will report back soon!