My Favourite Study Spaces

Students Studying at UBC

By Julia Yang, UBC student

If you’ve ever been in your room with the intention of diving into study only to be drawn by the magnetic pull of the bed, then this article is for you. Succumbing to the familiar comfort of the bed too frequently may be detrimental to the health of your academics and, if you have one, your normal sleep schedule.

Sometimes all it takes to get into intense study mode is a change of scenery—finding that one place where your brain seems to magically click.

So here is a list of my favourite places (in no particular order) on and off campus to escape the lure of “the Bed” and to spend some quality study time!

Life Sciences Centre

The Life Sciences Centre on Health Sciences Mall is wonderful place to study because it’s not so quiet that you have to be self conscious opening your binder, but it’s not loud enough to feel irritation. There are two atriums with plenty of light, one with smaller round tables and the other with long wide tables. Speaking from personal experience, if you are an avid practitioner of study sprawling, then the long wooden tables will be an absolute delight for you! Plus, if a caffeine fix is desperately needed, there is Caffè Perugia located in the Centre and a Starbucks across the street.

It’s open from 7 am to 6 pm on weekdays, but unfortunately it’s closed on the weekends.

Ridington Room

Known more famously as the “Harry Potter” room due in large part to the paintings of past UBC presidents, it is one of four silent study rooms in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.  It has a calm and quiet atmosphere, and the high ceilings make the room feel large and airy which contributes at an overall relaxed environment. Like the Life Sciences Centre, the long tables in the Ridington Room make it a great place for study sprawlers. During sunny days, wonderful, warm sunshine peeks through the giant windows to remind you that, outside of that frustrating and table flipping course, all is still well.

Law Library

The Law Library is across from Buchanan and is a great place to get some quiet studying done. All three floors of the library have spaces for students to study and the chairs are quite comfortable to sit in for longer periods of time. The new building itself is visually pleasing and doesn’t have that funky, old building smell which I suppose is always a bonus (for those of you with sensitive noses, it actually smells quite nice).  If you get caught in a mind bind, the Law Café downstairs provides food for brain fuel and the movable book stacks in the library are a great distraction during breaks. Outside the library are seating areas for students who want to work on group projects or just study in each others’ company.

An important side note is that during exam period, certain areas of the library will be reserved for law students so just make sure to observe the signage to avoid the uncomfortable situation of being asked to vacate. Also, food and drinks (other than bottled water) are not allowed in the library in order to maintain its pristine and stink-free environment.

Walter Gage Commonsblock

The Walter Gage Commonsblock has a variety of different study spaces available to both students living on and off campus. Ruth Blair C is a quiet study room with mostly glass walls, so at times it may feel like being an exhibit at the aquarium.

The Izzy Mac Ballroom is a semi-silent study area that has mirrors covering opposite walls (like a dance studio) but is sometimes unavailable due to residence events.

Another semi-silent study is the Mary Murrin room which is great if you love to study in an environment that is mostly olive in colour (it’s honestly quite relaxing).

Ruth Blair A and B are smaller, separate rooms available for students to book at the front desk and can only be booked within the 24 hours prior to your chosen time.

The common area has many cozy couches and fairly large tables that are great for group study sessions and a mini mart to stock up on snacks. All study areas in Walter Gage Commonsblock are open 24 hours a day, which makes them great places to study with friends during exam season.

Calhoun’s on Broadway

The best thing about Calhoun’s is that they are open 24 hours – perfect for those times when you have a sudden inspiration for studying in the middle of the night (or need to pull an all-nighter) and want to get away from your room. They have a nice ambience, slightly darker than most coffee shops with wooden tables and chairs and free wireless access if you ask for the code. Although I’m definitely not a coffee expert, I think the coffee is decent and there are lots of choices for both savoury and sweet foods. It’s a popular place, especially during exam season, so it is probably safer to arrive earlier in the morning if you want a guaranteed study table.

Feel free to check out these spots, escape from the comforts of your blanket and hopefully reconnect with 
your books!