library shelves and chairs

OPINION — Even the smallest things in life have been drastically changed by the coronavirus pandemic.

I used to be a gifted kid who never had to study. I didn’t truly study until I began college, and it took multiple semesters to learn how to do so. Just when I finally figured it out, a pandemic shook the world, and I had to learn all over again.

My pre-COVID-19 system was pretty good. I put a lot of research and time into figuring out what worked best for me, so I was confident in it. Sure the snacks and coffee helped, but there was one key factor that made it as effective as it was. In a previous article, I’ve mentioned that doing your homework in your bed is generally not advised. You’re going to get tired even faster and it’s hard for your brain to do work in a spot it usually associates with leisure. That’s why it’s good to have one section of your home associated with nothing but work.

Unfortunately, my home still has plenty of distractions, and it’s very easy for something else to grab my attention. Before I know it, I’m sucked into the new thing, and three hours have passed with no studying. My desk is meant to be my spot for work only, but with video games and art supplies within arm’s reach, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain that focus.

That’s why it was necessary for me to study in a place where I couldn’t get distracted as easily. All I had to do was go to a coffee shop. With other people watching me, it would have been embarrassing if they knew I was supposed to be studying but was messing around on my phone instead, and there were significantly less distractions in a Starbucks than there were in my bedroom.

Since sitting in a coffee shop can be dangerous now, here are five different places you can study at instead.

Outside of the Ragin’ Cajun Food Court

When you enter and exit the Ragin’ Cajun Food Court, you have to walk through a wooden deck. The sides are lined with benches, and in the middle sits a table. The area is shaded and sits right next to a building, so you’ll have a wifi connection there, should you need one. The only downside is that the closest bathroom is inside of the Agnes Edwards building because the food court doesn’t have one. That being said, the food court does have food and drinks, which makes it perfect for getting study snacks, even if you run out halfway through.

Under the Trees

Nestled between Madison Hall and Rex Street are a couple of benches and some trees. Similarly, there is a large tree and a deck next to the Edith Garland Dupré library. I enjoy studying at both of these spots. They also boast a wifi connection and close proximity to a bathroom. If you choose to study next to the library, you have easy access to the Jazzman’s Café on the first floor of the library. The con of these spaces is a lack of tabletops, so if you’re the kind of person who has multiple books and stacks of cards, this might not be the best location for you. A potentially unexpected upside is the scenery. The deck sits among many beautiful trees, and at the right time of day, feels almost ethereal. The benches next to Madison have their own charm with a view of the multiple statues and displays that line the sidewalk.

Girard Park

Leaving campus, but not by much, Girard Park offers multiple spots for studying. Multiple tables underneath roofed pavilions offer plenty of space to spread out books and notes, and these tables can easily be wiped down before using them. The roofs offer protection from any potential rain, and there is plenty of space between each pavilion. You’re sure to go unbothered, even on a busy park day. If none of the pavilions are open, feel free to bring a blanket and have a seat in any of the open grassy areas. You’ll lose the table, but it’s significantly easier to spread books and notes out over a blanket than it is over a thin bench. Unfortunately, the park lacks wifi, decent restrooms and access to study snacks, so you’ll want to come prepared and have your study material either printed out or saved where you don’t need the internet to access them.

The Y LAFAYETTE Sign

Straying a bit farther from campus, you can find the Y LAFAYETTE sign in Parc Sans Souci. The spot is popular for those seeking out good photo opportunities, but is otherwise unbothered, and offers plenty of space on the ground for a blanket. It also has a few benches. This spot also lacks wifi and a tabletop, but makes up for it in scenery and close proximity to a few Downtown restaurants that are within walking distance, if you feel hungry after your study session.

The Library

Finally, the Edith Garland Dupré Library is still open for business, and they have been diligent about their social distancing. Wifi, plenty of space to spread your things out without worrying about being too close to others and guaranteed silence all prove that sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice. Bring some wipes and clean off your area before and after you use it, and you’re set to enjoy the privilege of having close access to restrooms, coffee, additional study resources and more that being a University of Louisiana at Lafayette student grants you.

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