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College of Design

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Superior St. Paul Study Spaces

Ready or not, midterm season is in full swing at the U of M and shall continue to reign in the back of our minds until the last of them are turned in a few weeks from now. Midterm season is usually more spread out than other peak exam seasons, which allows more prep time but also tends to drag on from start to finish. I like to refer to my midterm exams as "middys" to alleviate negative connotations associated with the stress midterm season can bring. It makes them sound kind of fun, which is often an over exaggeration but a positive outlook never hurts. Over the past few years at the U of M, my study habits for these said middys have evolved through what I now recognize as a trial and error process and have developed into a positive and productive relationship with the St. Paul Campus and it's many wonderful places to study.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Minneapolis Campus. It pretty much serves as the center of my academic life whether or not I'm attending class there at the time. It is compact, convenient, and is truly the epicenter of the U's civic life and culture. However, I'm one of those who are very easily distracted by people, places, and things in general - and while the Minneapolis Campus has plenty of quiet libraries and study nooks to take refuge in during study season, my friends and I mostly venture on over to the St. Paul Campus to when homework is the top priority. It also fits perfectly with our new housing situation on Southeast Como, served by MetroTransit's Route 3 which quickly connects the Minneapolis and St. Paul Campuses.

It's a completely different atmosphere over in St. Paul and tends to have immediate calming properties upon arrival - especially this time of the year when the hundreds of autumn trees are literally gleaming maroon and gold - a truly unrivaled tribute to gopher spirit! In addition to a calming outdoor ambiance, buildings on the St. Paul Campus full of what I would claim to be ideal study conditions.

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One of my favorites is the "treehouse" in McNeal Hall, the College of Design's St. Paul facilities where my major is housed. The treehouse is a common study tucked into a large skyway link between historic and modern structures that together form a part of the McNeal Hall design facilities. It even has access to an outdoor balcony overlooking the newly paved courtyard.

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A few other notable mentions on my list of St. Paul study enclaves are the Magrath Library and the former Forestry Library. The Magrath Library is St. Paul Campus' largest library and definitely my go-to place if I ever need to get some serious work done. The building's unique natural lighting flowing into open spaces allow people within the building to experience natural lighting cycles within a climate-controlled environment, so a lot of study areas are in an open atrium setting instead of amongst rows of bookshelves. And finally, the former Forestry Library, though quite self-explanatory, is a newly reopened common study space in the Hill Area of the St. Paul Campus. Although I appreciated the quaintness and charm of what was the forestry library (circa 2010) the consolidation of its periodicals really opened up the space and I've been frequenting it since it opened its doors this fall.

Back to work!

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.