I found myself in the winding unlit depths of the very top floor, almost doomedHeidi Atkins with permission for Varsity

A student’s favourite study spot is a very personal decision. I decided to take a look at the Lifestyle editors’ and writers’ choices, making a few (incredibly unbiased, of course) judgements myself…

Esther Arthurson: the UL

’There’s something about its silent corridors and deserted stacks that I have fallen in love with. The smell of it is now more familiar than that of my own flat (concerned? I am) and I love that it can simply absorb you in a one-way game of hide and seek. However, at night, nobody can convince me that there isn’t a body festering away in one of those “storage” units tucked away at the top of the echoing staircases.’


Mountain View

“See you in the history books” – reflection on a chance encounter

I can’t say I agree with Esther’s love for the University Library, here. I ventured into the UL once in first year in desperate search of an apparently one-of-a-kind history book, and I found myself in the winding unlit depths of the very top floor, almost doomed to become the decaying body that Esther so ominously speaks of… Upon giving the place another try as a bedraggled fourth year, I can’t say my opinion has changed much. To me, the place lacks any sort of comfort, and hearing the loud ‘shush’ that echoed round the library after a poor soul let one cough slip is almost comical evidence of this. Less comical was somehow forgetting my locker code and having to ask a member of staff to free my tinfoil-wrapped banana bread from its cage.


Alice Mainwood: Harvey’s Coffee House

‘I love studying in Harvey’s, the staff are lovely, amazing coffee, and it’s a really nice atmosphere, especially if you’re a humanities student who spends more time talking about your essays than writing them….’

The atmosphere is warm, the place spacious, the people friendlyAlice Mainwood with permission for Varsity

Harvey’s Coffee House, unlike the UL, I can get behind. The atmosphere is warm, the place spacious, the people friendly. I even had a supervision there a couple of weeks ago, and, while I did end up crying in front of my supervisor (it had been a rough week…), Harvey’s chai latte was a deliciously spiced comfort.


Maddy Sanderson: her room… and the Eagle on a Saturday night!?

‘I don’t really have a massive favourite, but honestly, just holed up in my room surrounded by my usual filth is probably where it’s at for me. I once did some work in the Eagle on a Saturday night and that was fun, but the stress of tap-tapping away at my keyboard amidst the ruckus of the punters had me reaching for a cigarette before I’d even finished my first page of writing...’

Sometimes I can work in my room, but most of the time the tempting warmth of my bed defeats my admittedly quite pathetic willpower. But hats off to Maddy for turning a Saturday pub night into a study sesh – I’m not sure I ever plan to attempt that. Perhaps essay-writing in a sun-soaked summer beer garden would be more pleasant, though my laptop’s need for constant life support (i.e., plug sockets) might have something to say about that…


Anuli Ononye: Real Eating Co.

‘I started going to Real Eating Co. on my quest to find my favourite vanilla latte in town. I loved theirs (and they’ve now sold me on the gingerbread latte too). It’s a great place to work, comfy booths, not too loud, lots of outlets, and clean bathrooms. Definitely recommend!’

With chai latte in hand, I managed to dig myself out of a three-day-long mental block!Maia Walker with permission for Varsity

I have to say, walking down Sidney Street and not turning left towards Waterstones felt almost like a betrayal, but I just had to give Anuli’s choice a go. And, while it was not the most unique of cafés, the vibes were calm and comfortable, the huge window providing a soundproof barrier from the outside rush. Plus, with chai latte in hand, I managed to dig myself out of a three-day-long mental block!


Sofia Johanson: the Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics Library

‘If I really need to get some work done then I’ll be in the self-contained, windowed “bunker” in the MMLL library. I like how its insulated from literally all noise and it’s one of the only places that isn’t freezing.’

Ah, the MMLL library is also a favourite of mine. Surprisingly, I only ventured here this year, having stayed primarily loyal to the Seeley library in first and second year (as an HML student, I was spoilt for choice, really). Now I know that I was missing out – from the wall paraphernalia to the nap-ready beanbags, the MMLL library is a charming place to study. And I, too, am a fan of the windowed bunker, though I must admit that I find it more productive for peering nosily over the Sidgwick dwellers than for studying.


Maia Walker: the Rosemary Murray Library

Here we come to my own top pick: the Rosemary Murray Library at Medwards. I love this library. I rave about this library. Approximately 2 minutes from my room and open 24-hours, this library has seen me at my worst, my most dishevelled, at 2pm, 4am, solo, with friends, and in varying levels of deliriousness. Whether you want standing desks, sofas, mezzanine tables, aesthetics, blankets, heaters, nooks and crannies, open space, craft sessions, tea chats – it has it all, as well as the loveliest librarians there are!

I love this library. I rave about this libraryMaia Walker with permission for Varsity


So, there you have it. The Lifestyle team’s top study spots. How would you rate them?