Top secret study spaces

Annoyed by those loud cell phone gabbers? Tired of TECH Center monotony? Fed up with corporate free-form jazz? Well, for just two easy payments of $19.95…

It’s a shame Temple didn’t produce such an infomercial because in all likelihood, finding a good place to study can be quite stressful. And with an essay or test due tomorrow, Temple students don’t need to cope with added pressure.

Perhaps receiving an A on a paper takes more than just proper planning and copious editing. Where studying occurs can make a difference. The real dilemma is that university-deemed study locations are often infested with people who aren’t really interested in quiet page-turning Zen.

Every person has a different method of learning, but for those who truly need an oasis, here are some good locations to try:

The quiet sections on the second and third floors of Paley Library

Though posted signs suggest that an unattended laptop could be jacked at any moment, there are no other reasons to feel threatened. The second and third floors of Paley Library may be overlooked because of the recently renovated first floor computer area and café, but as any librarian will discern, never judge a book by its cover.

The special quiet sections usually live up to its bestowed honor, though an occasional ringtone may blast through the room, followed by the ominous voice of a loud cell phone talker. There aren’t any AlliedBarton security guards there ready to arrest the silence incapable, but usually a stern glance at the offender will do the trick.

The library’s upper floors are a great place to study, but the stifling aroma of periodicals combined with vomit-colored furniture could be a deal breaker.

The fourth floor study lounge of 1300 residence hall
The fourth floor is quiet enough to hear the outside electronic chirps beckoning the blind to cross Broad Street. Enter the fourth floor study lounge, and a sea of quiet is found. It’s warm, carpeted and full of wooden cubicles for privacy. Outside noise is minimal to nonexistent.

The best parts about this place are the large windows that provide a great view of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, inviting one to daydream or take in a dose of sun and sky. Glance up from a textbook every once in a while and watch the campus grid unfold. Just don’t stare too diligently; it creeps out the people below.

The basement of Paley Library

Now, who would ever want to study in a basement? Don’t confuse the damp and the dreary with the library’s basement, which is adjacent to the university’s Urban Archives.

Furthermore, as of Jan. 20, 2009, the basement computer lab boasts sleek new LCD screens for watching media, be it an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or a frame-by-frame analysis of the Zapruder film. The library’s basement is also extremely quiet and a good resource for history and maps of the city, microfilm and government documents.

There are assorted comfy chairs and plenty of room, but it is best to leave before dark. The spirit of Russell H. Conwell has been known to come alive and hunt down those with overdue book fines.

Alter Hall
The Fox School of Business’ Alter Hall is architecturally hip and futuristic. Many windows and a marvelous elliptical stock ticker give the place a Wall Street glitz. The paint is new, and the brightly-colored mural on the lower level near the auditorium is nice to look at during the winter doldrums.
Every few paces, there are four leather chairs surrounded by a table with laptop battery ports, so it’s a cool place to hang out between classes, but it may or may not be the greatest place to write a best-seller.

If a little background noise doesn’t interfere with studying, then try Alter Hall. If impermeable silence is a goal, it is probably better to head to the library or a study lounge. The huge ceiling and open-air design reverberates every step of a businesswoman’s high-heeled shoes.

And now, here are some places to try to avoid when an important assignment is due.

The TECH Center
Temple’s famous computer lab is the largest on the East Coast. Yet, with so many computers and people packed into the main labs, the decibel level is equivalent to Center City.

The TECH Center represents the best and worst of America’s technology addiction. Numerous printers come in handy at this location, but take a gaze throughout the massive space, and undoubtedly every other computer screen displays a Facebook page or a YouTube video.

While breaks are necessary every 40 minutes or so of studying, the TECH Center provides too many distractions. There are too many people screaming into their cell phones, too many students gossiping away the time and too many overly caffeinated individuals on edge. The eeriest part is the random classmate only a few computers away looking at mutual tagged photos from that one party two years ago…

Campus Starbucks
Sipping lattes and Web surfing may go hand-in-hand during a vacation, but the two don’t mix well during a busy school day. Starbucks at the TECH Center would serve its purpose if its location allowed Owls to pick up their caffeinated beverages and leave.

It’s best not to linger in a tiny Starbucks. The tables are cramped, the place is loud, the espresso machine’s milk steamer is constantly roaring, and the background jazz can drive a person insane. If combining Starbucks and studying is a necessity, grab a coffee and head someplace quieter.

The Bedroom
Well, yes and no.
The bedroom is home base, where all textbooks and supplies are. It’s comfortable with enough space to work.

Yet, for those who spend a considerable amount of time here between classes and sleeping, too much time in the dorm could fry one’s nerves. Factor in a next-door neighbor’s loud music and a roommate who has friends over, and nothing will get accomplished.

Also, the best place to study is at a desk and chair, not lying with a laptop on a bed. The body becomes too relaxed, and the studier gets sleepy. If the timing is right and the atmosphere is good, the bedroom can be a place where the magic happens — like a good study session.

Mark Newman can be reached at

1 Comment

  1. This is a really good piece and true to life. The tech is the absolute worst place if you want quite study time. I never been to Alter Hall, maybe I’ll check it out. Thanks Mark

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.