…It’s midterms week.
I’m just going to let that hang there for a moment so you can understand the gravity of that statement. For pretty much every student over the last week or so, the workload has really piled on, and stress levels have been hitting the ceiling. But there have been some great blogs on what that’s like, and surviving it – so I’ll pass up writing about that.
But as I moved around campus with my extremely dense book about Islam in Mali (essay on it due tomorrow… eek!), trying to concentrate, I came up with a blog idea! I found that the study spots I liked weren’t doing it for me for some reason or another, and some that I used to dismiss suddenly became incredibly attractive options. What gives? Well, I decided to try and figure that out.
So, without further ado, I present to you the JHU_Kevin official review of Campus Chairs!
“The crown jewel of the Gilman renovation”
Comfiness: Unusual shape of the chair takes some getting used to, but it grows on you. Fabric is a bit scratchy.
Fatigue Factor (TM): High. This means that it becomes hard to sit there for a long duration of time.
Ambiance: Special engineering magic drastically reduces echoing, which is nice. Low murmur constantly present as this is a big meeting place as well. High chance of interruption when you inevitably see friends as they pass through.
Optimal Study Material: Academic article. Chairs with tables in close proximity lend themselves nicely to sitting back and reading, then sitting up to mark up the document at important points. Furthermore, if your article has a cool title you can leave it conspicuously on the table and pretend to check your phone to see if any passerbys notice it and look impressed. (I’ve never… done that…)
The Levering Lounge
“Like sort of an unofficial student union”
Comfiness: The couches and armchairs are firm, with average softness cloth. Don’t expect to nap on them, but they can be great when sitting up straight in them.
Fatigue Factor: Medium-low. If you can find the right position (and you can) you can easily study there for hours. As I have.
Ambiance: Fireplaces which occasionally run give the lounge a nice “armchairs and firplace study” vibe, likely because it is made up of armchairs and fireplaces. But you know what I mean. In the center of the lounge is Pura Vida, a fair trade coffeeshop which makes an incredible mocha. However this adds foot traffic and the associated noise.
Optimal Study Material: Language work. The small 1/2 person size tables are great for doing language worksheets, and the ambience of the room plus the couches make it great for meeting with a friend to practice, and the conversations emanating from pura vida provide sound cover for your practicing pronunciation or conversations.
Comfiness: It’s a chair and a desk. Pretty standard.
Fatigue Factor: Low. While most Hopkins students (myself included) choose not to, it is very possible to spend long hours at these cubicles, banging out homework assignments.
Ambiance: You’re sitting around a bunch of other people who are also working hard, probably with headphones in, focused on getting your work done quickly. There really isn’t an ambiance — and that’s the appeal.
Optimal Study Material: Math/Science problem sets. From my limited experience with engineering last semester, I concluded that the best way to do that kind of work is where there are no distractions and you can focus solely on the numbers in front of you. The library does that.
“It’s 80 degrees, sunny, with a nice breeze – why would you spend any time indoors?”
Comfiness: Infinity. However outside is a broad term, and in terms of comfiness for the most popular places, I’ve come up with this list: Beach>Quad>Bench>low-lying wide ledge.
Fatigue Factor: Variable. Sitting on grass, it can be quite low, but often too low, and you end up napping/tanning. Which is not exactly a bad thing. As for benches and ledges, it can hurt your back after about a half hour.
Ambiance: In nice weather, amazing. However you are likely to run into a bunch of people you know (getting distracted) and also if you hate bugs that can be a problem.
Optimal Study Material: Light reading. Nothing too intense, that ruins the experience, but maybe a biography you need to read, or some poems. Now that sounds perfect.
“Super pretty. Like… SUPER pretty.”
Comfiness: High. The armchairs are the kind that you can just sink right into, and those which look through the stained glass windows soak the people in them in sunlight, keeping you warm.
Fatigue Factor: Low. The comfiness just lends itself to staying there forever, and most people who go there bring work with them that necessitates working for a while.
Ambiance: Quiet whispering, and a very powerful “humanities workstation” feel. You really have to go there to understand, but trust me, you will.
Optimal Study Material: Heavy reading. This is where you sink into a chair with your some-hundred page book that uses big words that all seem to end in -iological and work your way through it. The more academic the book, the smarter you’ll look to all the people around you who I promise have glanced over at least for a second with judgmental eyes, and the better you’ll feel.
“Whoever said that studying and falling asleep were mutually exclusive?”
Comfiness: Incredibly high. It’s a bed, after all. Really the only reason I listed it among these other chairs is because with enough pillows it can be shaped like a super comfy chair. Currently I have 18 pillows total in my room, for very complex reasons I’d rather not go into.
Fatigue Factor: Incredibly low. In fact, so low that it’s a struggle to stay awake, hence the quote above.
Ambiance: Whatever you want it to be – super quiet, music blaring, friends over, whatever.
Optimal Study Material: All forms of reading, as well as general Ipad/laptop work.
“Rumor has it these were designed for students to do work on”
Comfiness: With the Hopkins provided chair, meh. With my brought-from-home leather executive massage chair, it’s pretty great.
Fatigue Factor: medium low. Desks were made for students to do work on, and so it’s possible to stay at one for a long time until that work is completed. But of course, this varies from person to person.
Ambience: Pretty much the same as your bed, seeing as they are right next to each other.
Optimal Study Material: Writing essays. Sit me in my chair in front of my computer, and writing assignments fall like dominoes.
So what did I do about reading my book? Well I tried the Hut for a while, but after an hour or so and I had sufficiently shown it off, I ended up going back to my bed, declaring a “no distractions” rule, and after about 2 days and numerous refills of my Keurig, Bilius, I finished it amid many small naps.
Now midterms are almost over, and I’m so thankful for these many different spots, all of which (save the library) I frequented. Especially outside, on the quads. With weather this incredible in Baltimore, it’s hard to pass that opportunity up.
Okay so I’ll see you all later, once I get back from a well-deserved spring break!