Study Break(down)

The Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus has many things in abundance: brilliant minds, student activity groups, squirrels, highly-ranked research departments, and, of course, study spaces. This is a blog about the latter.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of study spaces on campus by any means; rather, as a senior, these are my personal favorite places to work when I need to spend some quality time with my stack of textbooks. Let’s go.

My Bedroom

  • What is it? This is where I live / sleep / eat microwaveable popcorn / occasionally study, on the tenth floor of an apartment building right across the street from the Hopkins beach. I have absolutely loved living here over the past year.
  • How I refer to it in a text message: “My apartment”, or occasionally “mi apartamento”
  • Pros: My room is pretty great. Everything that I might forget to pack for the library is just a few feet away from me, and I don’t have to worry about having someone watch over my belongings if I leave my desk to get a snack.
  • Cons: The internal battle between “study” and “nap” becomes a lot harder to win when my bed is right next to me.
  • What’s the most awkward thing that can happen here? I forget to close the blinds and freshmen in the neighboring Wolman Hall witness my study break dance party.
  • Alexa, how cool is the ceiling? Wow, what a weirdly specific question for you to ask me. The ceiling is not very cool. I’ll give it points for not leaking, even when it rains a lot.


The Reading Room

  • What is it? This is a quiet study space with around two-dozen large tables. It’s located within the Brody Learning Commons which is the most recent addition to the Hopkins library.
  • How I refer to it in a text message: “The RR”
  • Pros: As a part of the Brody Learning Commons, the Reading Room is open all day and night. I’ve never been one to pull true all-nighters, but I do occasionally wake up very early to finish work before a day of classes, and this is my favorite place to focus at six in the morning. More so than any other place on campus, the Reading Room feels collegiate. With its long mahogany tables and high ceilings, this is exactly the type of environment that young, pre-Hopkins Alexa always pictured when she imagined studying in college.
  • Cons: Due to all of the large windows, this space seems to take on the mood of the weather outside. It starts to feel gloomy to me when it’s grey and raining.
  • What’s the most awkward thing that can happen here? Accidently making sustained eye contact with the stranger sitting across the table from you, and then trying to look away casually and resume studying like nothing weird just happened.
  • Alexa, how cool is the ceiling? Very cool! The Reading Room has an above average ceiling with unique, box-like pendant lamps.


Homewood Academic Computing Lab

  • What is it? The HAC lab is a computer workroom in the basement of Krieger Hall. It’s also attached to the Johns Hopkins technology store.
  • How I refer to it in a text message: “Hack Lab”
  • Pros: As far as Hopkins study spaces go, this one seems to be a little less popular, so it’s a good place to find a seat when the library is filled to capacity during midterms or finals. I would definitely go here to use a computer if I needed to work on a project or use a program that was beyond the capabilities of my laptop.
  • Cons: My first ever experience with the HAC lab was a 9-hour long marathon to complete my Java final project, so I now associate the room with a very specific form of programing-induced angst.
  • What’s the most awkward thing that can happen here? Going to Intro to Programming in Java office hours for the first time and not being sure which of the many people, each sitting at a computer station, is your TA.
  • Alexa, how cool is the ceiling? Not cool at all. It’s just a normal ceiling.


The Gilman Atrium

  • What is it? A beautiful, open space in the heart of Gilman Hall populated by futuristic neon orange chairs. This is a popular area for TAs or instructors to meet with students one-on-one to discuss assignments.
  • How I refer to it in a text message: “Gilman”
  • Pros: On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have an hour-long break between two classes that meet in this building, so it makes sense for me to stay in Gilman and take advantage of one of the school’s most scenic study areas. It’s located right next to Alkimia Café, which would be exciting for me if I drank coffee with any regularity (I prefer caffeine to be delivered to my body in the form of diet soda).
  • Cons: Based on the number of seats available, this is one of the smaller study rooms on campus, and it’s often completely full by the time that I arrive. It also gets pretty noisy.
  • What’s the most awkward thing that can happen here? You ask someone sitting at a table if you can take one of the empty chairs, and they say yes but you can tell that they’re not happy about it.
  • Alexa, how cool is the ceiling? Wow, extremely cool! The atrium definitely has the greatest ceiling on campus.



  • What is it? Located beneath Q, M, and A, B-level is the fourth level of the library and the first of the quiet levels. Rows of cubicles are distributed among the library shelves for independent work and study.
  • How I refer to it in a text message: “B-levz”
  • Pros: As someone who is easily annoyed by people encroaching upon my personal space, having a whole, roomy cubicle to myself is fantastic. I got into the routine of writing all of my longer papers here during finals my freshman spring, and now there’s no place I’d rather try to support a thesis. I’m extremely loyal to my favorite cubicle.
  • Cons: Nothing. B-level is perfect.
  • What’s the most awkward thing that can happen here? Accidently touching the foot of the person in the cubicle across from you while stretching your legs and then recoiling in horror. 
  • Alexa, how cool is the ceiling? It looks exactly like the ceiling of a subway station, so that really depends on how you feel about subway stations. I think they’re fine.