1. East Fairchild
- Noise: not usually crowded or loud
- Atmosphere: comfortable environment with sofas, table and desk space
- Lighting: indoor light, no windows
- What it’s good for: recording interviews and video
The downstairs study lounge is a fantastic place. There’s not a lot of people. Great air conditioning, comfortable couch. I got a lot of work done in there. Sometimes the guys’ floor is too loud, and there’s too many people.
Aaron Park of Encino, California
- Noise: usually quiet
- Atmosphere: comfortable, open space with varied seating
- Lighting: indoor light and windows
- What it’s good for: group projects and work that does not require sound
The aesthetic vibe of the common room gets me.
Aro Majumder of Austin, Texas
- Noise: usually quiet and not crowded, depending on the floor and time of day
- Atmosphere: dorm environment with a few sofas, table and chairs, little desk space
- Lighting: mild indoor lighting and windows
- What it’s good for: writing, editing, collaborative or quiet work
At Norris you get distracted really easily. I’d be doing an interview, and the next thing you know I’m destroying some 10-year-old in Wii Tennis, and that’s a problem. So I started working more in the dorm where I could focus more.
Evan Kolin of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
- Noise: wind, waves crashing, people relaxing or exercising
- Atmosphere: outdoor setting with no chairs or tables, calm, relaxing. Bring a hammock or blanket.
- Lighting: sunlight
- What it’s good for: group work, quiet work like writing or editing
I get inspired by the Chicago skyline, and you also have the calming factor of the water, and you’re on the grass which is nice. It’s nice because you have people around you that are relaxing and enjoying their day. It makes the work more fun.
Rachel Barber, Roseville, California
3. Starbucks at Norris (Norbucks)
- Noise: cafe bustle, upbeat music playing
- Atmosphere: lively but not rambunctious, couches, desks, chairs and bean bags. Outdoor grass area with tables spread out.
- Lighting: mix of indoor and natural light
- What it’s good for: group work, meeting sources for interviews over coffee, eating and working at the same time
If I need a coffee fix, that’s always great. I like how you can be with your friends while getting all your stuff done. A lot of the time we’ll work outside on one of the tables when it’s a nice day.
Jilly Rolnick of Hillsborough, California
4. University Library
- Noise: other people working quietly
- Atmosphere: calm, many different rooms to work with varying set-ups
- Lighting: bright indoor lighting
- What it’s good for: focusing, quieter writing and editing work
I went during trend story week and worked there a lot. We thought the common rooms were nice for collaboration, but people will start talking. The study room at the library is quiet and nice.
CJ Fonda of Glenview, Illinois
5. Sculpture Garden
- Noise: occasional construction, people passing by
- Atmosphere: peaceful, outdoor setting with no tables or chairs
- Lighting: sunlight
- What it’s good for: quiet work such as writing or editing, group work
It’s outside so I get some sunshine, but also it’s really quiet and there aren’t a lot of people so I can get a lot done. It’s a really beautiful place on campus —lots of trees and sculptures and grass. I like to get real rustic with my study spots.
Nina Price of Berkeley, California
6. McCormick Foundation Center
- Noise: very quiet, occasional background noise from the nearby road or from lectures in the forum
- Atmosphere: quiet, cool temperature, comfortable with few tables but many leather seats
- Lighting: sunlight, indoor lighting at night
- What it’s good for: group work, quiet work like writing or editing, recording and listening to interviews
Inside McCormick there is air conditioning and a lot of natural light that keeps you in a good mood. There are lots of outlets, and the sofas are better than average for a nap.
Sora Lee of Los Angeles