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“Off the Beaten Path” Study Spots: Focus Guaranteed

By Elana Moscoe, 3rd year Concurrent Education – History major

I don’t know about you, but it seems as though Week 4 has hit me like a ton of bricks. As always, the semester is whizzing by, and with each passing day, we sink deeper and deeper into our courses, our essay writing, our readings and deadlines that at first appear to be a distant idea, but now are fast approaching.

My brain is also still on summer mode. I find it so difficult to come back to school in September after being off for four months to settle back into a routine, especially when the sun is shining and when I’d much rather be playing frisbee on the pier than playing catch up with my old friend Joseph Stauffer.

My favourite way to settle into a productive, enjoyable and effective routine is to motivate myself to study by finding new study spots on campus. The environment in which you choose to do your studying has a great impact on how successful and productive you will be. I know for me, I need moderate quiet, lots of natural light, a firm chair which I won’t fall asleep in, access to tea and a space that is not too crowded. But everyone is different! I find changing up my studying locations really helps me stay motivated to do my work, rather than falling into a monotonous routine that makes studying unenjoyable.

Although I know many people who can successfully study in their bedrooms, I know that I am absolutely useless when working at my desk in my room. I can find a million and one things to distract myself with — my two favourites are procrasti-cleaning and procrasti-cooking! By changing up your study locations every once in a while, it can re-stimulate you and refresh you as the semester goes on. But that being said, everyone has a different style.

Here are my personal favourite “Off the Beaten Path” study spots on campus. Feel free to add to my list by commenting below!

On Campus Study Spots

Empty Classrooms:

  • Try Mac-Corey, Kingston Hall, Watson Hall. Empty classrooms are great on weekends and during exam periods for group studying. Take advantage of the chalkboards and white boards to make mindmaps and illustrate key concepts and ideas. Great spots to do some hands on studying and teaching.

Red Room in Kingston Hall

  • Big tables, lots of space, generally not too busy

The Fireplace Reading Room in Stauffer

  • For a super quiet and sophisticated study spot, this large circular room is made cozy by 3 fireplaces which are on during the colder months of the year. There are nice big tables, but also smaller side tables and comfy chairs for reading.  During the day this room gets a lot of natural light, but beware of studying here in the evening as the lights are very dim. It can be soothing but it can also be a contributing factor for feeling sleepy and unproductive.


  • During the warmer months, bring a blanket and lean up against a tree, a crack open your textbook to get some readings done while enjoying the fresh air and taking in our beautiful campus.

Third Floor of the ARC:

  •  Lots of tables, natural light, a great spot to study with a friend. It is a lot quieter than the hustle and bustle of CoGro (Common Ground) below, providing subtle background noise to help some people focus.

Bracken Medicine Library

  • Very quiet study space, usually easy to find a spot. The top floor has really comfy couches, and the basement is dead quiet with minimal distractions. This is a great spot if you really need to sit down and focus. Also, it is attached to Botteral Hall which has an incredible caf. Probably the best kept secret at Queen’s.

The JDUC Study Room on the Third Floor

  • The best kept secret of the JDUC! This room is always available for studying and is rarely used!

Biosciences Undergraduate Study Room

  • Great to stop by between classes. This room is very quiet and has lots of electrical outlets and is in close proximity to both Tim Hortons and potentially your TAs if you need help!

Douglas Library- Third Floor

  • While many people love to study in the Harry Potter Room to feel like they are in Hogwarts, I prefer to study in the massive room right across from HP’s lair. You can always find a seat, even during exam time, it has lots of natural light, big tables and is always very quiet. TIP: BYOP (Bring your own power bar! Plugs are in limited supply and if you do, you can even make a friend by sharing!)

The Tea Room

  • Located on the corner of Union and Division, the Tea Room is a much smaller, lesser known version of the Common Ground in the ARC. Minimal background noise can be perfect for someone who needs it for stimulation. Also, their Chai Tea lattes are delicious!

Off Campus:

Sipps Coffee

  • Sipps is a bit further from campus, down by Ontario Street. They have cozy seating and delicious gourmet drinks, treats and sandwiches. Yum!

The Sleepless Goat

  • Down on Princess Street, the Goat provides a laid back atmosphere for studying with some background noise and delicious homemade organic food.

Starbucks Coffee on Division and Johnson

  • Classic spot, lots of tables inside and outside, a louder environment, super close to campus!

Check out these study spots and be creative with your study habits! Change will help you stay on track, stay focused and help you enjoy the studying process!  Get creative and good luck!

Photo courtesy of Tony Hall.