by Sarah Nathanson

Where do you go to study, New College? What happens when home is too distracting, the library is too dark, and a coffee shop requires you to pay for the privilege? Are you like me, in need of a perfectly distraction-free study space if you’re going to get anything done? If you’re despairing at the idea of having to find the perfect study space this year — I have excellent news! The Sidney Smith (SS) Commons physical space is officially open, student tested (by your local NC blogger) and ready to keep you productive this exam season.

A room with couches and a good view.

Environment and Productivity Coming Together

The SS Commons was created to be an environment optimized for student productivity. In a world designed to tempt our eyes away from our textbooks, this is exactly what we need to get through the more difficult classes in our schedule. The designers wanted to make it a place of learning that students would feel at home in, so that we had space to spread out and actually comfortably do work.

 

I’ll be honest with you, Newtonians — when I heard that Sid Smith was revamping their front study area, I was peeved. Perhaps that comes from a reluctance to accept change in my immediate environment, but I’m pretty sure that when I found out about this project, I just needed a place to sit.

 

Allow me to formally retract those annoyed thoughts, because now that the SS Commons is up and running, I could not be more pleased. Comparing the old space to the new one is almost impossible — the old space did the trick in a pinch, but now that I’ve experienced the new and improved Commons, I can’t get enough. I was a Robarts library girl, originally, but I think the new space has made me an SS commons convert.

 

Taking Tips From Experts

Neat desk behind a yellow chair.

In light of my favorite new study space on campus, and the upcoming exam season, I’ve actually taken study space cues from how the Commons were remodeled. First of all, I always clear my desk before sitting down to focus, and make sure I’m as comfortable as I can be (without, you know, falling asleep). When you’re studying, keep it minimalist so that there are fewer distractions: that’s lesson number one.

Next SS Commons lesson: I make sure that I’m studying in a sun-drenched room, and that I have enough air to keep from getting lethargic. Part of the remodeling done in the SS commons was to make it brighter and breezier, both important qualities in a study space. Apparently, this makes a difference in productivity and, in general, makes a space far more pleasant.

Lastly, I keep my space free of food — a part of the Commons that I originally didn’t like, but have grown to appreciate. Who knew that different food smells were contributors to my distraction? (Of course: the SS Commons team.)

 

If you haven’t already, I recommend checking the space out. Keep calm, study well, and good luck for finals!