Motivational study spots (because it’s spring quarter…)

May 1, 2017, 6:41 a.m.

The sun is shining, the fountains are roaring, and all you want to do is sunbathe on Meyer Green instead of working on that pesky p-set. It’s spring quarter, and your homework is far from your mind. There’s a reason that it’s called Camp Stanford after all. Whether you like it or not, however, classes are a reality — and that means that you have work to do. Occasionally.

Shutting myself up in Green to work behind those dirty windows that only show hints of the summer day outside feels pretty depressing, so I’ve spent all quarter trying to find better places to study than our claustrophobic library. Or, for that matter, my dorm room. Here they are!

Places on campus

Starbucks at Tresidder: This is my favorite place. One of my friends thought I work at Starbucks because I spend so much time there. Er, no. Unfortunately.

Anyway, it’s great because they play music softly in the background, which keeps you motivated, and you can order more coffee anytime you want on the handy mobile app, so it’s very convenient. 10/10 would recommend.

Cool Café at Cantor: If you haven’t been here before because Cantor is all the way on the other side of campus, you should come check it out! There’s almost never any undergraduates, so if you want a place to escape and focus in solitude, it’s a nice place to do work. Also, it has the best food on campus by far (their menu has items like “grilled tofu and spring vegetables” or “pumpkin and onion salad”). If it’s sunny enough outside, you can work on the terrace and feel inspired by all the beautiful Rodin sculptures.

Stanford Bookstore Café: I thought no one came here but tourists, but it’s actually a really quiet and productive place to work. First, the coffee and pastry selection is great (they sell cronuts — so “trendy”) and second, it’s quiet (no music playing) and no one cares if you sit there for four hours.

Coupa Café at Green: Although very subjective to weather, it’s a pretty place to work. In the morning, it’s quiet (and chilly, bring a jacket!), perfect for hyper-focused work. By the afternoon, it’s buzzing with conversation, and you’ll definitely run into at least one friend.  But if you’re in need of some friendly motivation to remain focused, it’s a great place.

Free study places on campus (that aren’t libraries!)

Spent all your extra cash on Late Night last weekend, and want somewhere free to study that isn’t boring old Green Library again?

Outside at Tresidder: If it’s pretty outside, this is a nice place to work because you’re surrounded by the sun and other people. Also you can pop into any of the nearby stores for snacks because food is key. If it’s cold or rainy though, not fun.

Building 160 on the Main Quad: I had a class here last quarter, and it’s great for focused and quiet studying during the week. The timeless façade of the quad hides the modern interior that’s been shaped around creating innovative study spaces, and Olives is even downstairs if you want a snack!

Rodin Sculpture Garden: It’s beautiful and sunny, and you can gain inspiration from all of Rodin’s beautiful works.


Are your friends just too distracting? All those Snapchat stories of parties or sunbathing on Wilbur field can be a bit FOMO-inducing, and sometimes getting off-campus and away from it all is the cure. According to some friends and personal experiences, here are some fun places to lighten your mood while you work on that p-set.

Motivational study spots (because it's spring quarter...)
HanaHaus’ interior workspace
(JASON LOPATA/The Stanford Daily)

University Ave: Guaranteed to get you the best food pic for your Snapchat story before diving into that THINK essay that has been burning a hole in your bag for two weeks. Try Philz Coffee for the hipster coffee vibe or Starbucks for that Frappuccino habit you can’t kick.

If you want actual food, head to sweetgreen for a salad and some studying. If you really want to power through, you can head to Blue Bottle Coffee, where there’s even something called HanaHaus that lets you rent private study rooms.

Town and Country: There’s a Peet’s Coffee where you could presumably study. There’s also a lot of outdoor seating as well as a Trader Joe’s, cute restaurants and cupcake places for study snacks!


Contact Caroline Dunn with more study ideas at cwdunn98 ‘at’

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