Shuffling study spots: venturing into the great unknown

October 10, 2020 — by Anjali Nuggehalli

I used to group the entire school into one lump. The rusty lockers and homecoming posters merely faded into the background as I rushed from one class to another, too busy to take in my surroundings.

Now, as I’m planted at my desk for seven hours straight of school, I find myself reminiscing about the constant changes of scenery that in-person school had to offer. Instead of being glued to the same swivel chair in my room, I used to travel from doodle-covered chemistry desks to paint-splattered picnic tables in the quad, all in the span of an hour. 

So in an attempt to boost my productivity and overall enthusiasm for online school, I decided to do my classes in different locations for a week. 

On Monday I studied at Peet’s Coffee, Tuesday at Wildwood Park, Wednesday at my friend’s house and Thursday in my backyard. (The pandemic limited my options.) In retrospect, I should have saved the coffee shop for last, as it was by far my favorite spot to study. 

As long as you get there around 9 a.m in order to get an outdoor table, Peet’s Coffee boasts excellent WiFi, comfortable chairs, and yes, even free water. While the shop is off of a busy road, I had no trouble staying focused, especially with an iced coffee to keep me awake. I also noticed that without the distractions of my cozy bed and endless food options in my fridge, I ended up using the three hours I spent there extremely productively. Overall: 9/10

Tuesday’s location was not so smooth. Wildwood Park is a great place to picnic with friends or take a nap under the Oak Trees, but is not suitable for studying. For one thing, parks don’t have free WiFi, so I was restricted to electronics-free homework, which essentially does not exist in the world of online learning. Not to mention, the park tables were covered in dried up food and other unknown substances, so I was forced to slouch over my papers on the grass which was not the most ergonomic method to study. Overall: 5/10 

Next, I ventured to my best friend’s house to study at a social distance, but I should have known this was a bad idea. We went from memorizing French irregular verbs to watching “Euphoria” and cracking up at TikToks on her phone, and I am ashamed to say that we got practically no work done. I left her house still not knowing how to conjugate irregular French verbs.) I will definitely be back at my best friend’s house soon, but this time, I’m leaving my books at home. Overall: 4/10 

For my final study spot, I traveled a great distance to my backyard. At this point, my options were limited, but I was not quite ready to return to my bland desk. Luckily, I picked a beautiful day to study outside, and I appreciated the serene surroundings as I did my work. Studying in my backyard was also more convenient than the other locations, as I could run into my house if I forgot an assignment or got hungry. Aside from the questionable WiFi connection, I did not see any obvious issues with studying outside, and will definitely continue to do so on warm days. Overall: 9/10

Although some of my study spots turned out to be more distracting, I embraced the opportunity to step away from my desk at home. It was refreshing to get a change of scenery, even if that meant transporting my laptop to different locations. 

While it is difficult to replicate the bustling nature of in-person school, I would urge you to try doing online work in a new setting — moving your work space, even to another room, will boost your energy and revitalize your motivation. 

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Junior Daniel Jiang prepares to make a goal during an after school water polo practice at SHS's swimming pool on Sept. 16. Photo by Selina Chen

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