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Late-night study spots: STEM edition

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It is that time of the quarter… Midterms are piling up, and the fear of impending finals, which suddenly seem terrifyingly soon, is creeping into the minds of students. No wonder many people will fight against their diurnal body rhythm, burning the midnight oil. Yet convincing yourself to stay up late to finish that assignment you promised yourself would be done by yesterday or catch up on those readings you said you’d miss only once, is only one problem. The real issue lies elsewhere: where is the best place to start your studious night as the rest of campus goes to bed? 

Everyone seems to have a personal favorite, for one reason or another.

  1. Lathrop Library

Well-known, yet under-subscribed. With the pandemic changing the hours of operation at Green Library, you might feel like the quintessential college experience of cramming in your sweats in an aesthetically pleasing environment is gone. Worry not! Lathrop’s door remains open — you can sneak into its study rooms at any hour, seven days a week. A perfect spot for those who feel a sudden burst of energy to do work in the wee hours of the night; Lathrop is always there for you with no questions asked. You should consider going there if you feel pressured to get the work done and do not want to endure the grind alone. There is always a chance you will find someone else there in the same boat as you — after all, misery loves company.

  1. Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center

The holy grail of all the worshipers of science. While Huang tends to get ridiculously busy during the day, leaving barely any seats to study in, at night it becomes deserted. The abundance of choice might confuse you at first — there are several study spots located throughout the building — but you should explore them all. Switch among the different floors and rooms every night, and make yourself at home. If you feel extra motivated and caffeinated, you might want to hang around the entire night. At least Coupa and the lecture hall will by nearby in the morning, so you might as well treat all-nighters in Huang as planning your next day ahead of time. 

  1. The Axe & Palm


Depending on what your definition of “late” is, you might want to give TAP a shot. The restaurant doesn’t close until  1 a.m. This deadline might be a good thing, pushing you to work more efficiently. So, if you like some adrenaline rush while writing out an essay or figuring out yet another upset question, TAP has you covered. Not to mention you can do so while checking out what its menu has to offer. Perhaps you will find out that a burger or some boba is the key to an effective studying routine. After all, you are going to need a lot of energy to go through all of that work, so why not fuel yourself with some snacks? But aside from the cost of the food, there is a price to pay: the place never gets quiet enough to call it a proper studying spot. Do not forget to bring either noise-canceling earphones or a laser-focused mindset if you dare to embark on a late-night study journey at TAP!

  1. Sapp Center for Science Teaching and Learning

Are you even a pre-med student if you have not studied at Sapp after hours? The environment is similar to Huang’s (including the doors closing past a certain point), and at night you can hardly find anybody in there. All those chairs on the first floor to choose from might overwhelm you at first, but their relative comfiness should persuade you to stay. Studying in Sapp is a good strategy if you think you might undergo a major-related crisis, pondering whether you should really take that other bio or chemistry class next quarter. The close proximity of medical school is radiating through the walls, reminding you of your goals of pulling even more all-nighters, but in a white coat. Sapp helps you navigate through the moments of doubt — you have seen those walls and halls countless times, devoted so much time to this cause — and reminds you why you signed up for all that studying in the first place. Didn’t you want to be able to complain and flex about the craziness of organic chemistry to your friends? You were bound to end up in Sapp past your bedtime, then, so embrace your destiny. 

  1. Your dorm 

The obvious one. The night is dark and full of terrors, and you might not want to play the game of wasting more sleep than you should. Cease your wandering around the campus, trying to find that “perfect” place to study, and just get that work done. You likely have all you need right there in the room, and the sight of a cozy bed should be enough of a temptation to get that assignment out of the way as quickly as possible. However, dorm studying can be dangerous: you never know if procrastination will interfere with your ambitious plans for the night and steer you right into the bed, rather than to the desk. So stay home at your own risk. Don’t write this option off, though, until you have tried it. A slight variation to this option would be to head to your dorm’s lounge. This way, you still stay within your home but reduce the risk of distracting yourself or disturbing your roommate’s sleep.

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Contact Julia at news 'at' stanforddaily.com.