Where to find students in their study habitats

By Edyth Moldow

Pia Contreras

It’s midterm season again… but isn’t it always?  Nevertheless, it’s time to hunker down and do what we’re all here to do: study. Given the pandemic, the combination of completely remote, hybrid-flex, and in-person classes has been perplexing to navigate. We have had to completely rethink how and where we wish to learn: from home or on campus, online or in-person. In recalculating which mode of study works best, we may be lacking inspiration for how to spark our intellectual curiosity outside of the classroom. 

A large part of how we perform in classes depends on how well we can prepare ourselves in hazily-defined free time. Maybe you find that you spend more time in your room so that you can study without a mask on. Maybe you find it difficult to focus at all given in this stressful time. Or perhaps you’re simply tired of going to the same spot in the library and want to spice up your study plans. In light of these shared experiences, some students have come to the rescue with fresh locations on campus for you to reignite your love of learning. 

Jordyn Johnson ’23 often studies in the cubicles in the library when she’s “actually trying to grind.” Sometimes she takes a quick jaunt over to McCardell Bicentennial Hall to study in the ends of the western-facing corridors that if she wants a soothing view of farmland. However, actually studying isn’t always the goal. “Axinn in front of the water fountain is good for fake studying, which means just trying to run into friends and talk,” Johnson said.

Torre Davy ’21 said has tested out different study spaces over the last few years. “I tried all the famous ones — Abernethy Room, Davis, Crossroads, you name it. It’s never worked for me super well because I love people-watching,” he said. “My favorite study spot has always been my room, and that’s a point of pride because not many people I know can actually get work done in their room.” 

First-year Aly Fedde ’24 is experiencing Middlebury College with fresh eyes. “My favorite study spots are BiHall at one of the end cubbies so I can see outside, but only during the day, or at the standing desk area in Davis Library so I don’t fall asleep, on one of the mezzanine levels at Davis, or outside on the Mead Chapel hill when the weather is nice,” Fedde said.

Emma Tzotschew ’23 and Andrew Grossman ’23 share a love for Axinn, Davis and the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Tzotschew said that she has nomadic studying habits and likes to spend her nights in Axinn or migrating between different spaces within the library. “Today I travelled all the way to [Mahaney] to work on my art history sketch and paper, and that was a lovely place to meditate on art,” she said. Tzotschew said that the Mahaney has a “clean vibe,” while Grossman said that the space “feels like a mall; it’s outside but inside.” 

The Arts & Culture Editors weighed in, noting how switching between hidden and public spaces offered a good routine. Owen Mason-Hill ’22 is often in the Film and Media Culture Multimedia Lab in the basement of Axinn burning the midnight candle and making use of headphone-induced silence to get his work done. Emily Ballou ’21 has shifted her study habits over the years — in her first year of college, Ballou could often be found in Mitchell Green Lounge in McCullough Student Center and the basement of the Chateau. Since then, she has found that the wooden nook in the MAC that looks over the outside pond to be the best location. Eliza King Freedman ’23 also enjoys studying in the MAC, though she prefers to work downstairs in its more open seating. “I need people to be able to see my computer screen to hold me accountable,” said King Freedman. Acadia Klepeis ’24 prefers to work exclusively in Davis, often reserving a private room with great natural light where she doesn’t have to wear a mask. 

In my own experience, the best places to study are tucked away from the bustle of a campus full of familiar faces. You can often find me holed up in a corner of the Freeman International Center, the Coffrin bike room or outside of the Anthropology classrooms in the Johnson Memorial building. My best studying happens in remote locations where I am inspired by the art or scenery around me. In the bike room, the tires make me feel like I am moving forward. The Anthropology classrooms are shrouded in a mysterious dim light and the FIC is warm and inviting. 

Study space choices at Middlebury run the gamut from extremely public to off-the-grid — some students choose both options in the same night. But on our expansive campus, you don’t have to settle for a blue chair in the Library: there is always someplace new to discover when you have to crack open your Biology textbook or write that five page essay.