Winter quarter is over and practically everyone I know used their Spring Break to recover and recharge from finals. It’s hard to think of anything good that comes with finals week; with abundant stress, excessive eating, lack (or absence) of sleep, the temporary end of a social life, and to the dismay of Davis townspeople, the overcrowding of every café downtown, there doesn’t seem to be any positive aspects to the critical week of testing. Let’s face it, we all want to do well on our exams. What we don’t usually consider, however, is how a good environment can really help us focus and be productive in our studies. Everyone has a preference of what constitutes as a good study or work environment for them. Some prefer extreme quiet and dead silence, while others need background sounds to help them concentrate. Whichever environment you prefer, I have compiled a short list of popular study spots that will cater to any student’s preference and will help as they study for exams in the future.
1. Common Grounds Café, South Davis
For all you that work better with a café ambience, Common Grounds Café is your best bet. Located on Cowell Blvd in the Safeway complex, neighboring Dos Coyotes, Common Grounds is a large café with an excellent selection of seats as well as a sufficient amount of outlets. You can choose to sit on barstools that face the window, at roomy tables that provide excellent workspace, or you can cozy up on an armchair or couch and finish up some reading. Not only do the expansive windows brighten up the place, but the entire café itself is very large and roomy, with plenty of space between tables so you won’t feel so cramped or too confined. And of course, there is an excellent selection of espresso, coffee, and tea beverages in case you need a little pick-me-up while hitting the books.
Unfortunately, it is in South Davis, so it is a bit out-of-the-way if you don’t own a car or don’t live close by. Luckily, this place doesn’t get overcrowded even during finals week, so even if you aren’t a student, you won’t have to worry about it getting super packed. If you ever need a place to study and have the means to visit, Common Grounds Café would be a great choice and will meet all your “study café” requirements.
2. The Student Community Center (SCC), UC Davis Campus
The newly opened Student Community Center is a new and refreshing place to study. Not only does it have two computer media labs, but it also has meeting rooms for study groups or for campus organizations, and is home to the Cross Cultural Center, the LGBT, the SRRC, and the Undergraduate Research Center. Once you walk in, you can tell that it was designed as a place for students to come together and get their study on. Brightly lit with a tremendous amount of seating, as well as the CoHo South Café, this center will meet any student’s needs. Practically every room is a prime location for studying, with a crazy amount of Mac computers, tables, and couches. A downside is that there aren’t many outlets, so if you are someone who uses a laptop to study for long periods at a time, this may not be the best place for you. But hey, that’s what the computer labs are for! If you’re on campus and need to catch up on your studies, and don’t mind conversations in the background (it is a popular meeting place for groups), then the SCC is definitely a place you should take into consideration.
3. Peter J. Shields Library, UC Davis Campus
Yes, I am stating the obvious here, but there’s a reason why students flock here during finals and midterms. First of all, it’s huge, and surprisingly easy to get lost in if you aren’t familiar. Lots of seating is available, except during the afternoon hours during finals week; the library practically reaches full capacity at this time. So if you want to take advantage of all that the library has to offer, it’s best to get there early and nab a spot. If you have a laptop, you’ll have to spend a little bit more time searching for a table with an outlet nearby. This is primarily why one of my favorite places to study in the library is the Main Reading Room on the second floor. Every table has multiple outlets, as well as an overhead light to help illuminate that hard-to-read textbook font. Because it is a library, you think everywhere you go there would be absolute silence, but unfortunately this is not always the case. There are students who tend to chatter with the group that they are with, but don’t let that deter you if you are a studier who needs absolute silence. Not only are there parts of the library sectioned off for people like you, but if you stay away from the main areas of the floor, you will most likely find a spot, just be sure to explore the more hidden areas of the library.
4. Mishka’s Café, Downtown Davis
Downtown Davis offers a great selection of cafes, but when it comes to a cozy study environment with delicious drinks, Mishka’s Café is the place to beat. Although some people gravitate towards Mishka’s for its coffee, espresso, and tea beverages, many come here to get some studying and some work done. Situated in the heart of downtown on 2nd St, it has a prime location that attracts many passersby. It isn’t the largest café, however, and seating is pretty limited. They dedicate a section at the front for no laptops, but the rest of the café almost always has bustling with students and Davis residents alike reading their textbooks and typing away on their keyboards. Multiple outlets can be found on the walls, which is why many laptop users tend to sit at the bar-like table facing the window. Once again if you enjoy a warm, comfy, café atmosphere and are lucky enough to get a seat here, this place makes a great spot to get work done. For all you Mishka regulars, I would be prepared for the café to be extremely packed with us college kids during finals week! And if you are a student planning on coming here to study for your exams, I would try grabbing a spot in the morning if you are really set on studying here.
5. The CoHo, UC Davis Campus
If you’re a student or teacher at UC Davis, then you are very familiar with the UC Davis Coffee House, commonly known as the CoHo. The CoHo is run by the ASUCD and serves a variety of foods, as well as coffee via Swirlz Café. Think of this place almost as the cafeteria for college kids, but much nicer! There are tons of seating available, from bar stools to booths, to large tables, perfect for sprawling out your work. This place is great for catching up on reading and getting a bite to eat, which is why I tend to come here in between classes. Unfortunately, the wireless is really poor, so if you need to do work on campus that requires internet, I would opt for the library. As I’ve said, the CoHo is quite popular, so finding seats during peak lunch hours maybe difficult, but still, I consider this place a good study environment. The majority of people there are students or members of the UC Davis staff working and studying, which may get you in the studying mood. Again, if you are someone who doesn’t need peace and quiet, and enjoy the company of other individuals studying just as hard as you, then the CoHo is a great option.