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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Hidden Gems; the Best Places to Study on Campus

It’s that time again — finals week is around the corner. You can’t study in your room because someone will knock on your door or send you an instant message, and a routine e-mail check will turn into an hour-long cruise on Facebook. Every reading room in the library is filled to capacity. Luckily, Stony Brook’s campus is big enough to provide plenty of study sanctuaries.

The Frank Melville Jr. Memorial Library is one of the most popular places to study on campus, but the North Reading Room, the Central Reading Room, and the commuter lounge are all crowded and noisy. The hidden gem is the Music Library, discreetly tucked away off the main lobby.

Nicole Tobar, a student receptionist, said most students don’t even know it exists. “When I tell people I work here, they don’t even know what it is,” Tobar said. Students are very unlikely to be distracted by bumping into an acquaintance, unless they are music majors.

The Music Library has a “quiet study” area that is newly furnished with large tables and cushioned chairs. The large windows filter the warm sunlight onto the students who have their books spread out on the enormous tables. In the back is a small lounge with couches and coffee tables. And the five computers are usually available.

“This is the place I go to get some serious work done,” said Stephen Crawford, a business major. “It’s really comfortable. I appreciate the chairs and the temperature the most. And I like how it’s really quiet. I feel bad if I’m typing too loud.”

Cell phone usage is prohibited but the no-food-or drinks rule is not strictly enforced. The downfall is that the Music Library closes 10 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on weekends, much earlier than the other libraries.

Who hasn’t waited 20 minutes for a computer in the library? A computer lab in the library that’s always half empty may sound too good to be true but it exists. It’s called the Language Learning and Research Center, located on the fifth floor. Most students found it when taking a language or culture course in the classrooms next door or through word of mouth. Yes, it’s that top secret.

“I don’t go to any other SINC site,” said Krystal DeJesus, a journalism major. “I never have a problem getting a computer immediately. I love the Mac computers here because they’re filled with all the goodies. The newsroom is the best. But this is second best.”

The staff strongly enforces a no-food-or-drink policy so the lab is cleaner than the other SINC sites and has more equipment and services as other SINC sites: scanners, double-sided printing, three-hole punchers, staplers, staple removers, pencil sharpener, glue — and a box of tissues in case you need it.

The word about that study haven is spreading. “Last year, it was usually always empty,” said Jungju Choi, a student consultant, said. “Now its about half full, especially during the peak hours of the afternoon.”

The downfall is that it’s not on the first floor; two of the four elevators in the building are shut down and the remaining two are always packed and run slow. But the wait for an elevator up to computer heaven is still shorter than the 20-minute sweat in the main computer lab.

Studying in an aesthetic environment is always pleasurable and the ground floor of the Wang Center is ideal. The study area there is surrounded by three water fountains and beautiful Asian sculptures. It has large tables to spread out on and is ideal for group projects. Ample sunlight shines through the glass atrium of the post-modern architectural building.

“It’s louder than other places,” said Marissa Dooling, a journalism major, who called Wang her favorite study haven. “The sound of the waterfall calms me and I need a little bit of a noise so the Wang Center is perfect.”

When the weather is warm enough, the outside patio right outside Jasmine is also tranquil for studying. Several tables and chairs are placed around a lily pond traversed by an Asian bridge.

The only downfall is that the Wang Center is away from the Academic Mall and far from the dormitories. And occasionally, when the fountains are off, the foot traffic upstairs can get loud. Therefore it’s not always ideal for those who need complete silence to study.

For the students who prefer their studying location to be as high-strung as their nerves, the Student Activities Center lounge beside the food court is a popular location. The room is brightly decorated with varying sizes of tables and chairs — from group sofas to individual sofas and coffee tables to cubicles. It’s usually filled with people studying, eating and chatting. There are plenty of electrical outlets along the walls to plug in a laptop.

“I usually listen to my iPod to drown out other distractions,” said Diana Mosquera, a pre-medical student. “My studying is usually really intense so I’m really not bothered easily. And I have a special playlist for studying so that helps too.” Mosquera’s playlist is composed of jazz and electronica music.

Barbara D’Amato, a licensed psychoanalyst for over 20 years who is affiliated with Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, believes students’ criteria for ideal study havens are as varied as the students themselves. “Individuals use various defense mechanisms to allow as little or as much stimulation from the external environment to penetrate their internal equilibrium,” D’Amato said.

“Some people need a lot of outside stimulation to work optimally, such as background noise, social activity, and bright lights while others regulate tension levels with quiet calm solitude,” said D’Amato. “They’re all are equally effective for different individuals.”

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