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The Best Study Spots on Campus

Ben provides recommendations for his favorite study spots on campus.

Ben provides recommendations for his favorite study spots on campus.

My daily routine usually ends with me plopping down my backpack, books, and laptop and working on homework or projects for my courses. I try to mix up where I study pretty frequently in an attempt to keep the scenery fresh. During my freshman year I sought out secret nooks, underrated spots, and other interesting places to work. I have since found a couple of places I really enjoy working—some being pretty basic and some maybe a little less well-known. As I enter my last year at Carleton, I wanted to share some of my favorite study spots from the past 3 years.

4th Libe

Classic. Hard to go wrong with this one. For those who do not know, our library (or ‘The Libe’) is made up of 4 floors (and an unofficial 5th floor). It is constructed on the side of a hill, so you actually enter on the 4th floor. The floors descend from loudest to quietest—only the silent and truly focused students head all the way down to 1st floor, otherwise known as the “Monastery Level.” As someone who is easily distracted and has a naturally loud voice, my time in The Libe is spent almost exclusively on the top 2 floors.

Students work in the library
I specifically like working at these tables on the left, next to the giant windows.

Goodsell Observatory

This one may come as a bit of a surprise. Goodsell gets a lot of hype for its telescope with open viewing hours but receives almost no praise as a place to finish up a problem set or work on an essay. When you first enter Goodsell, there is a small museum that explains the history of the building. Did you know from the 1870s until World War II, Goodsell set time for all major railroads from Chicago to Seattle? Besides the museum, there is a nice area with a teacher’s lounge feel stocked with TVs, a mini-fridge, tea bags, and comfy chairs. This creates a really cool modern but storied atmosphere.

Goodsell on a starry night.


Another classic. Sayles has the right level of crowd noise, bigger tables for groups, and smaller tables for working solo. It also has the best study break amenities: pool tables, foosball, and the Sayles Hill Cafe. Many late nights have been spent here trying to debug my code while feasting on Sayles’ chicken tenders. I also always bump into someone I know, which can be a perfect pick me up if I am having a busy or stressful week.

A crowd of people gather at tables for lunch in the large, vaulted space of Sayles-Hill Campus Center
It was poppin’ in 2019!

Ben is a rising Senior from Boulder, CO. He is majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Spanish. Outside of academics, Ben is a long-distance runner for Carleton’s Cross Country and Track teams (his favorite event is the steeplechase) and he also plays the drums for The Megs, a student band that covers Australian punk rock music. Meet the other Bloggers!