The Best Places to Study on Campus

All Southern Miss students understand how important it is to have the perfect study conditions. USM’s campus has no shortage of options for students looking for a place to get work done. To pick the best one, let’s have a general overview of five common options: Cook Library, the Courtyard, the R.C. Cook Union and the dorms. Students from around campus gave their input on which location they prefer.  

Dr. Ashley Burnside from the Center for Student Success also weighed in on the topic. 

Location is an important factor in having a successful work session.  

“I think largely a lot of how efficient or effective studying is dependent upon the environment in which the student is studying, but also what is the goal the student wants to get out of that session,” said Dr. Burnside, Director of the Center for Student Success.  

“There are, though, some things that just historically don’t work well for students,” she added.  

This means that when choosing the right study spot, a student must weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each location, as well as their own goals and preferences.  

Arguably the most popular choice is Cook Library. It is open during peak work hours — until midnight most days, and until 5 p.m. on weekends. The great thing about Cook Library is that it has a wide variety of locations, from the Starbucks to the study rooms to the couch outside the Center for Student Success. This also means the level of distractions and comfort vary depending on your location.  

 Sophomore Mackenzie Loyd said that she’s studied all over campus, but the library is the best.  

“It’s just a peaceful environment,” Loyd said. “And, you know, there’s Starbucks in there.” 

Right outside the library is the Courtyard, for those who want to study outdoors. It is great for days with nice weather and is available day and night. It is also close to Starbucks and Southern Wings. However, studying outside has its drawbacks. If the crowds of people don’t make it hard to focus, the heat and limited areas to charge electronics might. Besides these issues, studying outside can be very rejuvenating. 

“On days when it’s sunny it’s really nice because you can sit in the shade and enjoy the weather,” said junior Madison Trahan.  

Another great option is the R.C. Cook Union. This location is sandwiched between the Chick-fil-a, Subway and the cafeteria, so food is not a problem. It is a great stop for students in-between classes or meals. There are plenty of seats and outlets, with the upper floors offering more quiet. But its presence as an in-between location means that there can be a lot of crowds and distractions in break periods, especially on the first floor.  

Freshman Demeter Ross doesn’t mind, though. “I like studying in the Union because it’s a big open space, and I do better when I’m out in the open,” he said. “It’s better to study here when there’s a minimal amount of people and the sun is out, because you get that rush of energy.” 

Lastly, there is always the option to skip traveling and study at home. It is always “open,” and food is usually free. There are the usual comforts of studying indoors without all the crowds. However, everyone’s living situation is different. Some people could find it more distracting if they have a roommate or live in a noisy area.  

For others, like sophomore Sydney Harrison, it is ideal. “It’s comfortable and it provides a nice Zen space for me to be away from people,” she said. 

No matter where the work gets done, the most important thing is to have a plan that fits your needs.