On a balcony with brick columns and a carved stone rail, a person sits at an outdoor table set.

Eight Great Study Nooks

Eight Great Study Nooks

With final exams coming up, students are searching out nooks and crannies across campus to squeeze in some quiet studying—and perhaps catch a glimpse of the pop-up candy cart making its way through the Sawyer and Schow Science libraries to offer sweet treats for those in need of a break. Williams has no shortage of study spaces: Two libraries, study rooms in each academic building, dormitory lobbies and coffee shops offer many places to hunker down with a laptop, textbook or course packet. Still, many of the most popular spots fill up fast. Earlier in the fall, the Center for Learning in Action designed a tour, led by TJ Watkins ’23, to highlight some little-known places around campus. Here are a few of the stops on that tour (with thanks to Jake Saudek ’23 for modeling proper study habits).

#1: South Science Building Study Nooks

A person sits in a soft chair with their bak to a wall of windows that look out to colorful fall trees. There are small round tables in the room.

Completed in 2018, the Hopper Science Center—better known by students as “South Sci”—is home to advanced biology, chemistry and physics labs. But it also houses study rooms, project alcoves and conference spaces. Outfitted with beanbag chairs, chalkboards, tables and stunning views of the mountains, these spaces facilitate focus against the background sounds of humming laboratory equipment.

#2: Second Floor Goodrich

Students sit along a narrow balcony under a tall pointed roof with church-like stained glass windows at one end. The balcony overlooks an open room with lots of people milling around.

In addition to grabbing breakfast in the student-run coffee shop on the main floor of Goodrich Hall, students can hang out, watch concerts or study late into the night. Up a flight of stairs, away from the bustle of the first floor, is a second floor that overlooks the tables below and is lined with booths and tables perfect for studying.

#3: Goodrich Conference Room

A person studies in a large room with vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, light wood floors and a window at one end of the room. The person's table and chair have wheels.

For those who find coffee-shop chatter too distracting, the conference room on the second floor of Goodrich is both quiet and cozy, with beautifully vaulted wooden ceilings, natural light and a fireplace. Also good for study groups, the flexible space has tables and chairs on wheels to rearrange as needed.

#4: Paresky Second Floor Hall

A person studies at a long table in a bright room with lots of windows in a light, open space.

The main floor of the Paresky Center, the student center that serves as a campus hub, is constantly bustling with activity. But the second floor sits away from the crowds and past the offices, lined with tables and lounge chairs alongside a wall of windows overlooking Williams Quad and the mountains beyond.

#5: Paresky Second Floor Reading Room (Rm. 201)

In a rounded room with windows along one side, a person sits at a square of long tables with several chairs.

Tucked into the corner of the second floor of Paresky Center is a reading room with warm lighting, shelves lined with books and a rounded window with Purple Valley views. This quiet atmosphere is just the place for getting some work done. In fact, it’s known by many on campus as the Quiet Room.

#6: Thompson Memorial Chapel Basement—Interfaith Common Room

Through an oak doorway with a transom above, a person sits studying at a table in a room with comfortable couches and oriental rugs.

In contrast to the ornate exterior of Thompson Memorial Chapel, the basement of the chapel houses modest, low-key spaces like the Interfaith Common Room, where, according to the Chaplains’ Office website, “Seekers and visitors are welcome, from any religious tradition or no tradition.” The calm space makes a great spot for studying, writing or praying for a passing grade.

#7: Sawyer Library Balcony

On a balcony with brick columns and a carved stone rail, a person sits at an outdoor table set.

Under the tall brick arches at the front of the library—the Stetson Hall portal leading into Sawyer Library—is a fairly hidden balcony overlooking the quad lined with academic buildings. With cover from the upper levels for shade, the balcony has tables and chairs set up for those who appreciate studying in the fresh air. Between the discreet location and cool late-fall breezes, the balcony is likely to have plenty of room.

#8: Bernhard Music Center Lobby

A person sits in an open lobby with reddish tile floor, gray and blue couches, large palm-like plants and gray concrete walls with horizontal stripes running along them.

While the Bernhard Music Center may appear to have few exterior windows, the lobby features a glass wall that looks out to a hidden courtyard, potted plants placed throughout and a scattering of comfortable couches. Not just for music majors, the open room is full of light, and the distant sounds of instrumental rehearsals can serve as the perfect accompaniment for a study session.

Lucera Whitmore ’23 is a student assistant in the Office of Communications.

Photographs courtesy of the author.