I find myself on a quest. Not so far removed from the knightly quest of King Arthur’s Holy Grail. I am after every student very own Holy Grail : the best study spot to survive and even succeed postgraduate studies.
Every week new challenging readings come my way, new lectures to record and new blog posts to write. I had to find The One. Somewhere I could study non-stop for hours, learn efficiently without distraction and also be comfortable. Where should I start? Arthur’s Seat to go after King Arthur like my previous analogy could let you believe. Probably not. Arthur’s seat is a great place – I’ll tell you more about in another post – but it’s a hill in the middle of the city where no one has ever studied properly and no one ever will.
Somewhere indoor then? Probably. I love Edinburgh outdoor life, – full of parks, hills and even cemeteries – but we are way too far up north to make it a reliable study spot. You have cafés all over the city, one more cozier than the other at every corner. Great option, however most of them close their door at 5 or 6pm. If you’re a night owl like me you are looking for a place open at night.
Somewhere indoors where you can be any hour of the day, any day of the week then. You ask, I deliver. I have the great honour of presenting you the Main Library open 24/7 and ready to welcome you into its warm arms. It’s busy, full of life and with all the resources you could ever ask for. You can print, you can ask for help, you can look for the most obscure resources you might need and you even have hot water for your tea available for free on the first floor. Certainly it’s busy, but in a very careful and quiet way, which can make it the best or the worst place to study according to your personal preferences. I personally love it but I know so many of my friends who would never be caught dead in the library.
Let’s move to another place that is open 24/7, that is comfy, cosy and where you can eat and make as much noise as you want (almost). I offer you no less than your very own home. Why not after all? You can already picture yourself seated at your desk with a warm blanket around your shoulders and a mug of fresh coffee next to you ; there is nowhere like home. And if it works for you that’s great, but let’s be realistic here and the knowledge that you have a bed and a computer with internet access within your reach will more often than not lead to some very well deserved me time curled up in bed watching Netflix.
There is not much left, is there? So I’m going with a very important lesson I learned from this quest in my psyche and exploring Edinburgh every secluded nooks : the ideal study spot doesn’t exist. It’s a harsh reality we all have to face at some point, I’m afraid. Like a bird I migrate from places to places during the day, depending on my mood, the weather and a hundred more peculiar reasons. The only real advice I can give you now is to let go of any criteria you think you have for a study spot, just open yourself to study wherever fits you at that very moment and the inspiration will come your way. Just one more reason to discover a little bit more of the university and the city every day.