Where to Study: Types of Study Spaces + Their Pros and Cons

It can be hard to find a study space that fits your needs. In this short guide find out more about different study spaces on and around campus so that you can maximize your time on campus!

1. The Classic: A Library

  • Pros:
    • Libraries are quiet, making them perfect for those days you just need to hunker down and get to work.
    • Most libraries have plenty of study spaces, so you won't need to worry about not finding a spot.
    • With over 40 libraries across U of T, you'll be able to find one steps from any spot on campus, making them a convenient spot to get some work done in between classes.
  • Cons:
    • Often, libraries will prohibit food and drinks inside, so you'll have to carefully plan your studies around mealtimes, and you won't be able to use caffeine to fuel an early morning work session.
    • Sometimes you need to hop on a quick zoom meeting, or participate in an online class, and the library is probably not going to be the best spot for that. Also, if you are trying to get some work done on a group project, the silent zone can make collaboration tricky (get around this by booking a study room for your group!)
  • My Favourite Libraries:

2. The Caffeinated: A Cafe

  • Pros:
    • Great for social studying, as you can chat while you work.
    • Food and drinks are available onsite, whether you forgot to pack lunch or you need a coffee pick-me-up.
    • Great ambiance: you won't need that coffee shop simulator on your laptop when you have the real thing in front of you.
  • Cons:
    • Cafes can be small, so make sure to do your research (or let me do it for you and check out my recommendations) to avoid being stuck with no table and a $5 coffee.
    • Speaking of $5 coffees, if you're trying to save money, cafe studying might need to be an occasional experience.
    • The ambiance and freedom to socialize means that noise levels might get out of hand, making it hard to focus. It depends on how you work best!
  • My Picks for Cafes Near Campus:
    • North Side:
      • L'Espresso Bar Mercurio on Bloor below the Woodsworth residence building. Lots of tables and plenty of gluten free treats if that appeals to you!
      • 5 Elements Espresso Bar on Avenue Road has 3 levels of seating, and they offer substantial food options.
    • East Side:
      • Aroma Espresso Bar on Bay Street is super close to St. Mikes and Vic, and they have a good amount of seating and lots of food available.
      • Kelly Cafe located inside the John M. Kelly Library is technically part of the library, however they sell food and drinks and provide a good location within the library to take online classes.
    • South Side:
      • Jimmy's Coffee on Gerrard has 2 floors of seating and lots of yummy snacks.

3. The Commons: Student Commons and Other Student Centres

Finding multifunctional student spaces on campus can be hard if you don't know where to look. These spaces are especially useful for commuter students who sometimes need to spend long days on campus without a home base. Student commons and other designated student centres will be your home away from home during a 12 hour day.

The new UTSU Student Commons
  • Pros:
    • Multifunctional spaces designed for student-specific needs. Eat, study, and relax all in the same spot.
    • There are many student commons/student centres around campus, so you can probably find one close to you.
    • Free, so you don't have to pay to sit in a cafe in order to have a spot to eat.
  • Cons:
    • You might not be aware that a lot of these spaces exist, so they can go under-utilized. Make sure you know what resources are available to improve your student experience!
  • Where to Look:
    • UTSU Student Commons on College Street is a new 5 story student space on the southwest corner of campus. I checked it out just for this blogpost and its a great spot to hang out, eat, and study between classes.
    • Sidney Smith Commons is located right inside the main Arts and Science building, and is such a convenient location if you have lots of classes there.
    • Your College might have its own dedicated student space, or even a specific commuter student centre. Check with them to see what's available to you. At my College (Victoria) we have the Goldring Student Centre with a commuter lounge and study spaces, and I know other colleges have similar offerings.

4. The Classroom: Empty Classrooms and Academic Buildings

A bonus tip is to check out the academic buildings for hidden study spots or empty classrooms (you can try using Sync Search for this!)

Thanks for reading and good luck with your studying, - Annie

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