Studying: we all do it… well, one would hope so. Whether you’re powering through five paragraphs on floriography in Madame Bovary, polishing up a presentation on foreign policy, or writing a lab report on polymerase chain reactions; I’ve concluded that everyone has their own ideal ratio of productivity to atmosphere when going on their study session. Perhaps this article will provide a variety of insights for you: maybe you’re a bright-eyed first year, or slightly less bright-eyed Covid second year, settling into town and trying to figure out what study space will best suit you. Maybe you’ve been at this university game for four long years and want a moment for self-reflection. Or maybe you want to figure out what lies behind your friends and their study habits. This trove of knowledge lies ahead…
I promise I won’t tell you you’re basic. In fact, I’ll tell you that if you’re at the Main Library to study, I have a lot of respect for you. Nowadays, a seat in the Main Library seems to cost sweat, tears, and tedious pre-booking. For these reasons, I don’t think someone would go there without a purpose (unless it’s to catch sight of your masked library crush). Whether it be an imminent deadline that you just need to clear your mind of distractions to work on, or you’re just an intellectual in our midst, people who study at the Main Library are very much on the grind. You don’t require too much of a visually pleasing environment, just a decent WiFi connection and coursework reading within reach. Proud of you. Please stay hydrated.
King James Library:
You’re not only on the grind, you’re aesthetically on the grind. There’s something about wood panelling, busts that look like they’re marble, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases that just get you going. You’ve probably had or are still in the throes of a Dark Academia phase, and you’ve read a Donna Tartt novel at least once in your life. You may have even unironically worn a tweed item of clothing to a tutorial. I wouldn’t go so far to classify you as a tea or coffee person, but whichever you are, it’s not just a casual thing. You’re a Tea Person or a Coffee Person, with intentional capitalization. I’ve been told that the atmosphere in the King James Library is ‘intense’, but what would I know? I’m too busy gazing off into the warm light as it filters through the square-paned windows, and then wistfully turning back to finish my Old English translations.
You must really like your 2000s hits, because I swear that’s all they play there. You’re a quality multitasker, maybe more on the extroverted side, and enjoy being surrounded by people – whether they’re working like you, savouring a cup of coffee, or chatting with friends. Rector’s has quality lighting with its floor-to-ceiling windows, so you definitely must be a bit of a carpe-diem type, if not with a personality of sunshine, trying to let in what little Scottish sunlight there is into your overworked soul. If you study at Rector’s, I feel like you’re attempting to achieve the feeling of being the poster student that you’ve seen on university publicity, and between working on your assignments and having a decent brew, are doing a little out-of-body visualisation of how diligent you look.
People who study in cafés need to have a good sense of multitasking and focus. People who study in Northpoint have that but multiplied by ten, because you’re somehow working in the busiest, most touristy café in St Andrews… and getting stuff done? Good on you, but did you make an otherworldly pact to achieve this? Or are you so tempted by the thought of one of Northpoint’s legendary hot chocolates that you’ll fight your way to get a chair, try not to get distracted by their elite playlist, and tune out the volume of a dozen tourists attempting to establish the accuracy of the other Will and Kate sign down the road. If you study at Northpoint, you most likely have incredible taste in music, will go to the ends of the earth for a good cup of tea or coffee, and tend to fluctuate between periods of intense, driven working and absolute procrastination.
Quirky, but we love to see it. You enjoy standing out from the crowd and have a very strong sense of individuality, and you definitely have an adventurous streak that our gorgeous coastal town brings out. Not that you can often study outside in St Andrews with the track record of weather in this town, but when the opportunity comes, you love to take it. Whether it be on your ideal bench overlooking the sea, a picnic blanket on Sallies quad, or by the pond in the Botanic Gardens, you have a sense of romantic introspection, enjoy being out in the fresh air, and have a remarkable immunity to cold – or maybe just a really good jacket, tell us your secrets!
In your room:
It’s a go-to for a reason. You are comfortable in your own headspace, and prefer feeling a sense of control over your life in order to be productive, whether it be cracking open a window if it’s too hot, putting on some music or an ambient track if you feel too silent, or nipping down to the kitchen for tea and a biscuit if you’re feeling hungry. You might be happiest when in a slightly flexible routine, and familiarity comforts you above all else, but it pays off because you’re definitely able to get the most done when in your ideal circumstances. You go!
Of course, this isn’t a fully comprehensive list – as an English and Art History major, the only thing I could hesitantly tell you about the J.F. Allen library is the fact that people who do sciences usually end up there. Also, if I tried to list every single study space in St Andrews, I would have no time to go off to my own study spaces! But as long as this article has been a bit of light reading, maybe even for your study break, it will have done its job.