My new study spot

This quarter, my two south campus classes are both held in the heart of north campus, one in Dodd Hall and the other next door in Bunche. I have a two hour gap between them on Wednesday, and have discovered my new favorite study spot. With the beautiful spring weather, I like to study outside, but have found lying in the grass next to Janss steps to be cumbersome to making flashcards. So, a couple of weeks ago I ventured into the Law School courtyard and found a bunch of tables and sunshine!

Since the law school is on the semester system, they are out of school already so it is nice and peaceful.

Go Bruins!

Featured Study Spot: Dickson Court

If you think I love scoping out new places to study on campus, you couldn’t be more correct.  Sure, the conventional dorm desk or apartment dining table get stuff done, but why not enjoy the lovely outdoors or some ambient coffee shop music while you’re at it?  One of the greatest things about this campus is that we have a wide range of places where students can hit the books AND appreciate the campus at the same time.

Some of my favorites include coffee shops, on-campus libraries, and cafes in Westwood, but on a beautiful day like this, how can one resist the urge to plop down on the grass somewhere and soak in some sunshine?

Dickson Court, located between Schoenberg Hall (home to the School of Music) and Perloff Hall (home to the Graduate School of Architecture), is an ideal place to do just that.  With some mild slopes and neatly trimmed flower bushes, it’s hard to walk through and resist the urge to come back later just to take a nap on the grass.  The careful placement of trees gives the court some patches of shade, which are useful when the Sun is directly overhead.

Here’s what Dickson Court looks like today:

Princeton Ly – Study Time


It’s hard to believe that the quarter is almost over. They’re already playing Christmas music on the radio! In any case, for us college students, the approaching holidays mean that we must overcome one last major obstacle between now and complete freedom: finals.

One of the hardest things to do in studying for finals is finding good places to study. Of course, you could be like everyone else and go to Powell or the nearest coffeehouse, but in my opinion, it’s not the greatest idea to be around lots of other stressed-out, immuno-compromised students – you don’t want to pick up what they’re suffering from.

Instead, let’s talk about some fun, interesting places to be during this finals season.

For dormies, one of my favorite places to dig into my books was the top floor of Covel Commons. Often used for conferences and the like, the big ballroom and adjoining meeting rooms are usually empty, and have whiteboards aplenty for all your reactions and equations. And there’s no better study break than looking out over UCLA from the patio, especially when it’s late at night and the place is glowing.

On campus, one of the simplest places to go study is any open classroom. Obviously, this works best on weekends or in the evening, but there’s really something about sitting in a lecture hall that makes you buckle down. Again, chalkboards and whiteboards are available here, as well as an amazing AV system – how about watching The Office on the big screen for a study break?

Other options include some of our lesser-known libraries. The older Arts Library has lots of study space nobody knows about, and the Young Research Library just got renovated. I’ve heard great things about studying at the Getty (if you have a car), or even at the beach, though it’s looking a bit cold for that this year.

Last piece of advice: don’t wait until the last minute! Grab your stuff, queue up some study music, and get crackin’.

Happy Studydays!


Featured Study Spot: Young Research Library

The recently renovated Young Research Library (popularly known as “YRL”) has been quite the buzz lately, especially among students of North Campus who may be delighted to find a great place to study, that happens to be within a few minutes walking distance of their classes and departments.  I myself don’t mind walking a little further to Powell Library for a writer’s block, but the results of YRL’s face lift is so impressive, that it has become my new favorite place to study all across campus.

Throughout the summer, I was aware of YRL’s internal renovation project that had begun earlier that year, and had looked closely at poster outside that boasted modern features of the end result, but had never anticipated that the day would come, when I could actually use the pod-like study spaces on the first floor or grab a coffee right inside the library, in the midst of doing research. Sitting in the colorful, comfortable seating surrounded by curved dividers all centered around a monitor that has four VGA input cables makes me feel like I’m studying inside a tech-savvy flower. The conveniently-nearby laptop lending station lets me never have to lug mine to campus again.

The café adjoining the main floor lounge area is named Café 451, after Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, which was written in the basement of Powell Library back in the days when people rented typewriters at UCLA, to do their assignments.  The location of the café gives the main floor of YRL a relaxed ambiance that takes away a lot of the stress, but is still very quiet, perfect for studying.  Writers for the Daily Bruin predict that this “third type of study space”, where people are focused but not frantic, will attract many more students to YRL, as compared to prior its renovation (source).

The Best Place to Study

So to begin, many exciting things have been happening during my first two weeks at UCLA. Of course Zero week was a blast, but now first week is here, and it’s time to get serious. Studying for college courses can be very different, depending on how well you studied in high school. Professors don’t just want you to recite information from the book; they want you to be able to analyze it as well. So you not only have to know the basic information that published materials provide, but you must build on that information, with opinion and analysis. This takes hours and hours of studying, and more importantly, studying well. I’ve been told that for every hour of lecture, there should be two to three hours of studying. So this weekend I took it upon myself to get a head start and scope out the perfect place to study.

After exploring campus a bit over the past few days, I came upon this little courtyard (Shapiro Courtyard) between the Law building and Dodd Hall. It’s like a dream. It’s really quiet without being dead silent. There is a small amount of foot traffic (so just in case you need a break from the books, you can people watch) and an abundance of tables to choose from. There are lots of trees surrounding the area, so you wouldn’t even know it was there. The environment is perfect for me- outdoors, yet remote. Furthermore, I also get inspired by all of the hardworking law students that surround me, as I study.

Everyone has his or her own preferences when it comes down to it. I personally think that studying in a library would drive me crazy. Libraries are drafty with minimal recycled air, and I would probably be the person to drop one of my books and disturb everyone. So I’d rather stick to studying in my dorm room, the floor lounge, or the courtyard I described. I’m sure I’ll find a few other great places to study throughout the quarter. One of the many things that I love about campus is although many students study here, there seems to be a place for everyone.

Featured Study Spot: Novel Café

Another week has passed by and brought summer session A to an end!  And, like the end of any term, it must be accompanied by a round of finals.  Naturally, finals week (or the week immediately preceding it) is a crucial time when previously relaxed study habits suddenly click into gear and “get down to business.”  The usual popular study spots get increasingly crowded, and this is when I like to visit some of my favorite niche cafés in Westwood.

Novel Café has been in Westwood for a while, and yet it seems that not as many people know about it or venture that far from campus.  Novel Café, located at Gayley and Kinross, is a roughly 20-30 minute walk from the Hill and North Village apartments.  It serves an all-day breakfast menu, which is a nice change from Denny’s on the opposite side of the Village.  I know someone who swears by their Breakfast Quesadillas, and their Triple-Layered Chocolate Cake always finds a way to my table and bill nearly every time I pay them a visit.

In addition to great food, Novel Café also has a great study environment.  The café has two separate floors of tables; the first floor has both indoor and outdoor seating typical to any bistro, but the upper level has tables overlooking the lower level and bookcases in the walls with volumes spanning all sorts of topics of both academic and special interest.  My inner Geography nerd automatically gravitates toward the piles of National Geographic magazines, but I have seen anything from “How To Find Your Soulmate” to “Ancient Chinese History”.  It’s a great place to have casual Saturday morning (or afternoon… or evening) brunch with friends, or Wednesday evening tea followed by studying or writer’s block.

Stay tuned for more featured study spots in and around UCLA!

Previously on Featured Study Spots: Café Hammer

Featured Study Spot: Café Hammer

Although there are plenty of places to study on campus, UCLA students are very resourceful and seek out alternative good study spots in nearby Westwood, our college town.  It’s less about being bored of the ten libraries we have on campus and more about discovering nice little niches in Westwood that offer different atmospheres to choose from, depending on whether you’re crazy about coffee or a fan of museums and art galleries.  Recently I discovered that there is a café inside the Hammer Museum (located at Westwood and Wilshire) that has a lovely atmosphere that I find extremely conducive to studying.  Located in the middle of a picturesque courtyard, the café emulates a half-indoors, half-outdoors ambiance created by a combination of outdoors, lawn-partyish decor mixed with indoors, restaurant-style tables and chairs.  The half of the café that is in the center of the courtyard feels like an open-air coffee house, and the half that has a roof over its head looks like a sophisticated up-and-coming bistro.

The café not only has lovely atmosphere thoughtfully supplemented by electrical outlets for you to plug your laptop in while you study, it also has a delightful array of teas to choose from.  My next step is to try the appetizers that have been recommended to me as wonderful study snacks!

I’m looking forward to going back there again soon to study.  Who knew there would be a great study spot in the midst of a museum?  Stay tuned for more study spot recommendations in and around UCLA!