Studying In Silence

Posted sign at Paley Library, at Temple University

Ever since my first midterm at Portland State University, I have struggled to find a quiet place to study on campus.  It didn’t take me long to realize I could study best at home where I had some control over the matter.  But this past week, I had a three-hour lapse between obligations at school, and I thought I’d better use the time for my mounting homework. I began again a search for a quiet corner where I could really concentrate.  

First I headed to the library.  As I climbed the stairs to the many floors, a buzz of activity filled my ears. Students gathered at the tables and around the computer desks to work on class projects together.  Only in the basement did I find peace and quiet.  But if you have ever ventured into the library basement, you can understand why this isn’t a desirable place to study.  It’s just strange down there. 

            Giving up on the library, I stood in the park blocks wondering where I could go on campus to study in a quiet atmosphere.  Then it dawned on me.  The computer lab!  Why hadn’t I thought of this before?  The computer lab has a no cell phone policy, and because the tables are set-up in long rows, there is little opportunity for groups to gather. It was perfect for what I needed.  The downside is that the computer lab may not always be the best place to study if you don’t need a computer. 

            As we head into the final weeks of the term, finding a quiet place to study will become important to many students.  So tell me PSU, where is there a quiet place on campus to study?

23 thoughts on “Studying In Silence

    • Richelle Beck says:

      How far up in the library can you go? I had heard several years ago that students only had access to the first 3 floors plus basement so I never ventured beyond the 3rd floor. Was I misinformed?

      • Erin says:

        yes, the top 2 floors are “quiet floors” and are very quiet! try the back of the 3rd floor as well along the wall overlooking the field! its nice and quiet back there usually!

  1. Drew says:

    The terrace on the 3rd floor in Neuburger is full of natural lighting and well spread out seating with chalk boards available. I also like the Women’s Resource Center its good to bring snacks to share.

    • Richelle Beck says:

      Those are both good places to study Drew, but again, the noise and distraction factor is still high. I’ve never been above the 3rd floor of the library so I might try the 4th floor this week. The problem is that because they are not designated as quiet areas, they are not always quiet. With my personality, I need either white noise or silence for ultimate concentration.

  2. Meredith says:

    Ditto, Laura. The 4th and 5th floors are well worth the climb, and unlike the lower floors, there are no large tables for group gatherings. All of the flat surfaces are designed for single-person use.

    • Richelle Beck says:

      I will definitely check out the higher floors of the library. I am curious if they are actually designated quiet areas or if people are just quiet due to the set-up. The computer labs are designated as quiet so that is what makes them so perfect.

      • S says:

        It is posted on the forth and fifth floor desks, the elevator lobbies and I believe on the floor maps…

  3. Larrita Riggs says:

    University Success study lounge would be a great place for you! We are located in Ondine (1912 SW 6th Avenue) in room 204! There are comfortable couches, clean tables, and natural light and/or great alternative lighting. Plus we have great workshops and services we offer including tutoring, advising, drop-in counseling, and group study rooms. We’re offering FREE Acupuncture for stress relief tonight (Tuesday, 05/31/11) at 6pm! Open Mondays-Thursdays 2-10pm and Sundays 5pm-10pm including Finals week!

    • Richelle Beck says:

      That sounds lovely Larrita! I will come check that out this week. Thanks for the info. Wish I would have seen this earlier today. I would have come for some acupuncture!

  4. may suitor says:

    I go straight to the fifth floor when I utilize the library as a study space. The forth and fifth floors ARE designated quiet floors, but that doesn’t stop students from blabbering away up there. It is very difficult to find a *quiet* place to study. Those whose social lives take priority over their studies don’t seem to understand that not everyone wants to listen to them talk about how drunk they got the night before…

  5. Emilie says:

    Are there any 24 hour study spots on Campus? That’s my biggest problem: when insomnia hits, I need a place to study, and my dorm just doesn’t cut it. I wish the library or buildings were open 24 hours…

  6. Annie says:

    Sooo… Any 24 hour study spots at PSU? I’m pretty surprised that the buildings close so early. I’d expect every campus to have somewhere students can study whenever they need to.

  7. Chelle says:

    Annie, it is my understanding that due to PSU’s location, having 24 hour access to a study spot proves difficult, even scary. A student mentioned to me in the spring that the issues could be reduced by controlling access with key cards, but often times the street people will wait for someone with an access card to open the door and then just follow the person in. I personally think it would be doable if the space was maybe inside one of the buildings where the street people wouldn’t necessarily be aware of it. I suggest you take your request to your student body council to see if they can make any headway. I agree, it would definitely be nice to have 24 hour access to a study spot, particularly one that has computer access.

  8. Liza says:

    I’ve been searching for quiet on campus! Too I think psu should have a building with lots of floors and really comfortable old sofas and chairs and large tables the works. With a very strict policy on silence. No groups. Maybe on like one floor. The basement. 🙂

  9. Mike Briggs says:

    Very nice article Richelle. I think this piece really hit upon a nerve for the students at PSU, “where” to locate a place that is quiet…”. Like you I have desired this and fortunately I found the 3rd & 4th floors of the campus library early on. Congrats again on an interesting and relative post!

  10. ashley says:

    There is nowhere on the PSU campus that has computer use and at the same time is a quiet area. its ridiculous. i have tried the computer labs in the library and the urban center and in newburger. it never fails if i have something important to do that i will seat myself next to someone whose friend will come plop down and talk about god knows what at a level just audible to my neighbor and ME! A computer lab on a quiet floor would be the coolest thing PSU has done for students that arent working on group projects…which i bet would constitute a lot of students. try taking a practice test or a quiz in a computer lab if you are easily distracted by conversation…good luck.

    • Theo Burke says:

      Yes, trying to find a quiet computer lab is insane. But here’s the secret: there are four computers in the Toulon Library on the 7th floor of the Urban Center. No one talks in there. Don’t tell too many people.

      • Katherine says:

        In my experience, the same things happens at the 7th floor Urban Center that Ashley describes. Like the 4th 5th floor of the Library, it is designated a quiet space but I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to study there and use the computers when there would be people eating, and/or talking. I don’t understand why students who are paying tuition cannot get access to buildings and study spaces other than the PSU library 24/7. I’ve been a student at other schools where I simply had to ask for a key card to enter buildings and computer labs and could study at any time, 3 am, 5 am, Sundays, holidays, etc.

  11. Jolanda Fiallos says:

    There was a time when the home computer was relegated to a hastily put together extra room or cramped, inefficient home office. They rested on old, clunky desks that were not designed for computer use. Now, computers are busting out of the home office. Computers have become one of the centerpieces of both work and entertainment. People have their computers in living rooms, bedrooms, expansive home offices, or almost anywhere imaginable. To keep up with the demand of new computers, computer desks are now available in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles to fit all needs and tastes.-

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  12. Theo Burke says:

    The best study spots are the 7th floor of the Urban Center (the Toulon Library), the 4th and 5th floor quiet floors of the Library, and the new Quiet Study Lounge on the 4th floor of Smith. Or at home, like you say.

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