Study Areas Draw Different Crowds, Quiet or Loud


Published: November 4, 2010

Before an exam, there are a few important things that students should do. Arguably, the most important thing to do is study. It can be equally important, however, to sniff out the right spot to study. Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) offers designated study areas designed to help students focus, such as Quinn Library, the third floor quiet lounge and the second floor commuter lounge in Lowenstein, and the study lounges in McMahon Hall. During the awkward transitional phase between midterm exams and finals, we asked students how useful they find the FCLC study areas.

A student basks in the warmth of the fluorescent lighting found in the cubicle of the 17th floor study lounge. (Salma Elmehdawi/The Observer)

The study lounges in the dorms seem to be a popular option for late-night studying, but each lounge has a different appeal to students. The 17th floor lounge is for people who enjoy sounds that get no louder than a whisper; the 14th floor lounge attracts people who like to study near a vending machine; the fifth floor lounge attracts wild animals.

Christine Cherichella, FCLC ’14, said, “My favorite place [to study] is the 17th floor lounge because it’s the only quiet lounge, since the majority of students there seem to be law students. The fifth floor lounge is my least favorite, because it’s not very quiet. It smells awful like rotten pizza and cheese and… nasty. I was trying to study for a Spanish midterm at 3 a.m. and this group of kids brought in a box of pizza, opened Photobooth on their computer and started making out. I asked them to be quiet and they said no.”

Peter Cruise, FCLC ’13, shares Cherichella’s hatred of the fifth floor study lounge. Cruise said, “I don’t like the lounges after a certain hour because everyone just stops working and starts talking. During finals [week] last year, I was in the fifth floor lounge at 4 a.m. and everyone gave up on studying and just watched Youtube videos.”

Katie Leonard, FCLC ’12, has a sanctuary within the savage bounds of the rest of the fifth floor lounge. There is a separate small room in the corner of the lounge, with small cubicles and a door to shut out the maniacs. “My favorite place to study is the little room in the fifth floor study lounge,” said Leonard. “It blocks the noise out from the larger part of the lounge and usually I can be the only one in there.”

Justin Briner, FCLC ’13, said, “I really like the 14th floor lounge. There’s something really relaxed about the atmosphere there. Of course, the snacks are a welcome addition… The only problem I’ve run into with the 14th floor is that there isn’t much seating available in comparison to the other study areas. I’ve run into issues finding places to sit around heavy study times of the year, like exams.”

The commuter lounges on the second and third floors of the Lowenstein building can be good places for students to get work done between classes. The second floor lounge seems to be the more social of the two, whereas the sterility of the third floor lounge can be great for studying in solitude. Gabriella Varobey, FCLC ’11, said, “I think the best is the third floor [lounge] because it’s always quiet when you walk in. Also, you have private rooms, which unfortunately the library doesn’t have, so that’s a plus. The second floor [lounge] is obviously great if you want to study in groups and talk, but for private study I’d have to go with the third floor [lounge].”

Katerina Smotrich, FCLC ’13, said, “I prefer the third floor lounge because it is small and quiet and very few people frequent that floor (unless they have class). It also helps that there are so many outlets, so you can always plug in your laptop. I always procrastinate, so it’s a big help that I can just walk in and type my paper without losing battery power and with no distractions. Having the Writing Center right there is a big life-saver.”

Quinn Library has mixed reviews. Some people find the silent atmosphere suits their study needs, but others find it intimidating. Leonard is drawn to the still life of studiers that can be found in the library. Leonard said, “I find that when people study with their friends, the noise in the lounges gets unbearable. That’s when I normally go to the library, specifically the section where all the Holocaust books are located… it’s a low-traffic area!”

Briner finds the silence to be too much. The lack of vending machines probably plays an important role as well, although he did not explicitly state this. Briner said, “I don’t enjoy studying in the library… I find it very stifling, maybe if only because there’s the expectation of utter quiet. My main problem with the library is probably that I can’t study in libraries.” Personal biases against libraries aside, complete silence can be creepy.