Finals week is finally here and many, including myself, are not ready for the number of final papers that need to be written in the next two weeks. We all know how packed the libraries on campus are going to be for the next couple of weeks. You know the people that only show up during finals with their three-course meal and pack of friends who don't know how to act in a library? Well, they're here to irritate you and possibly drive you into a stress-induced rage. Maybe it's time to upgrade your favorite study spot.
While there are tons of places to study on campus, many of them are either extremely quiet to the point of not being able to concentrate or too loud -- filled with food-munching people and constant chair shifting. Being a commuter on campus, you quickly find a lot of cool places to study in Minneapolis, since the ultimate goal of a commuter is to avoid University of Minnesota metered parking at all costs. In spirits of finals week, here's a handcrafted list of five places that have great spaces, great food (for the most part), and lots of windows for that Sunday morning cram. May this list fill you with the adrenaline needed to help you make it through finals week or just give you more places to check out in the city.
1. Spyhouse Coffee
The first on my list is Spyhouse Coffee, a fairly popular coffee shop in Northeast Minneapolis. While I think their drinks are slightly overhyped (I've have had more misses than hits), the layout of the building is incredibly cool. It has this rustic/wooden feel with tons of tables, counters with bar stools and, most importantly, windows! It also has that nice coffee-shop chatter, which isn’t too loud but isn’t so quiet that you can hear a pin drop. It's a popular study space for a reason.
2. Downtown Central Library
The Downtown Central Library is that ginormous glass building in Minneapolis by the Nicollet Mall Metro Transit Green Line stop. This library has always been a favorite of mine because of--you guessed it--the windows. There is so much sunshine that comes into that building that just makes it feel comfy and like it may actually be summer. Now, I know this is a library (yes, I said that libraries during finals week generally suck, but this one doesn't count!), but if you go up to the second level where the teenage book section is, there’s a space in the corner of the room with huge bean bag chairs and tables that face a window looking out over downtown. It’s a perfect place to study because you're comfortable and surrounded by thousands of books. Is there anything more motivating? Also, the agonizing construction that went on downtown is finally over, so you can have a nice view of the city rather than a bunch of construction.
3. Lind Hall - Top Floor
This is one of the two places to study in Minneapolis that are on the U of M campus. If you go into Lind Hall (on Church Street across from Murphy and Ford Hall and near Washington Avenue where the Green Line runs), and head towards Starbucks, you’ll start to enter this library/study area. If you go to your left right when you walk in, there’s a staircase that leads to this huge rectangular circle table with spinny chairs. I feel like this might be a secret study place for people in CSE, but it’s a great place to study on campus. It smells like coffee, it's quiet and everyone else up there is studying as well, so it gives you an intrinsic motivation to work hard. The only downside is that sometimes it’s so quiet that sneezing feels like a major disruption to everyone’s grind.
4. Barnes and Noble: Har Har Mall
What better place to study than a building filled with graphic novels, book sales and tons of space? No, but seriously, Barnes and Noble is the dream for book lovers or people who just love the smell of paper. The only danger is that it's easy to distract yourself with anything in there, so beware so you don't take too many unnecessary study breaks.
5. Outside of Northrop
I think this is the best place to study on campus during finals week and at any time. If you’re lucky enough to get sunny weather and dry grounds, just laying on the grass or snagging a table to do your final paper feels so relaxing and euphoric. I think good weather motivates everyone to do better and gives us this little kick to finish off the semester strong even though our motivation fell with the blizzard we had in April. You honestly can’t beat the sun on your skin and pure happiness that the grassy fields bring. The only downside is that if it’s warm, there are insects--lots of wasps--and it’s insanely easy to fall asleep since you’re so comfortable. Don't let rogue naps disrupt your study schedule.
When I publish this, it’ll be the start of finals season. Which means if you’re reading this you really should be heading to Spyhouse to go study right now. Most, if not all, of these places, are inexpensive or free and are waiting for you to cure yourself of “It’s not due until May” procrastination. I’ll let you decide how you use this list, but for now, I wish you luck on your final exams and papers. Summer is only two weeks away and then you can finally waste away your time on an intertube in the middle of the lake.