Vassar College is not a big place. We don’t have three libraries or seven coffee shops to choose between. But Vassar students know what’s up when it comes to finding a good place to work. Whether you prefer a low hum of background noise or utter silence, Vassar’s got you covered. You’ll find at least one place that fits your bill whether you need quiet spaces, natural light or strong coffee.
Check out the 10 Vassar study spots that help students earn that 4.0 GPA.
1. MAIN’S MPRS
While not the most stylish, Main’s common rooms get the job done. That is, if cave-like suits your studying vibe. Sophomore Stephanie Coons said, “There’s something about the misery of those rooms that make me productive. The library is for people who have their shit together. If I’m willing to leave my room to study, it’s because I’m six weeks behind in readings with two essays due. I deserve a study space with mystery stains and assorted, broken dorm furniture, not a world-renowned library with tasteful decor.” We’ve all been there.
2. CUSHING HOUSE
Every dorm has a common room, but not one boasts a common space like Cushing does. Known as “the Hogwarts dorm” for its cozy, low-ceilinged wood interior, Cushing somehow got all the good study tables and a way bigger spread than the other dorms’ boxy, stuffy MPRs. Mysteriously the quietest common space, Cushing works great for getting work done when you’re not feeling the hermit life. People passing through on their way upstairs or off to class offer just the right amount of distraction. Feeling like you live in Gryffindor’s common room will never get old.
3. RESIDENTIAL QUAD
During the winter it’s a dead zone. But in the fall and spring, the quad doubles as the perfect place for Frisbee, volleyball, lounging with friends and tackling your assigned readings. If you own a hammock or a blanket you can turn into a hammock, you can string it up between the trees that seem to exist precisely for that purpose. With that kind of setup and some much-needed fresh air, it barely feels like you’re doing real schoolwork at all.
4. THE DEECE
While the secluded quiet room of the dining hall is now gone thanks to renovations, the Deece still serves as a go-to for the multi-tasking and economical among us. During midterms and finals week, grabbing a table in the back early in the morning is a popular tactic. It offers plenty of space to spread out your books, with breakfast and lunch (and dinner, if you’re that swamped) at your fingertips for just one meal swipe. They can’t make you pay again if you never leave.
5. YOUR MAJOR’S ACADEMIC BUILDING
Declaring your major has a little known perk—instant access to ample study space at whatever crazy hour you finally start being productive. “The 24/7 room in the library is often pretty crowded, but you can just swipe into your major’s building and have the entire place to yourself,” junior Claire Baker said. This will feel especially helpful for those lucky enough to have a major with cushy digs. “Sanders Physics is certainly an unconventional study spot, but I think that is part of the reason I love it. You need special card access so it tends to be quiet and empty. There’s also a kitchen, which is very convenient. I also love that I can study with groups there,” sophomore Neal Bhandari said.
6. THE OLD BOOKSTORE
What once housed Vassar’s bookstore now equals an artsy, open space conveniently located in the center of campus. This makes a great hotspot for late night studying with a group of fellow night owls, especially thanks to the late-night kiosk right upstairs. If you work better on your own, you’ll find it a quieter space in the afternoon. With plenty of natural light shining through the glass roof, you’ll forget you’re actually in Main’s basement.
7. THE RETREAT
Hands-down one of the most popular places on campus. You’ll want to hit this place up if you have a group project. Located in the center of campus with delicious food a few steps away, this doubles as the ideal meeting spot for brainstorming and sharing notes over a sandwich or fries. Or if you just want a friendly face to do your reading with but weren’t on top of it enough to text someone in advance, you’re bound to run into someone you know at one of the couple dozen tables with their signature blue chairs.
8. THE CRAFTED KUP
While not technically on campus, as the only legit coffee shop within walking distance, it counts. “Crafted” as it’s fondly known on campus, offers stellar coffee, a cozy hipster kind of vibe and plenty of workspace. Sophomore Caroline Ingram said, “I love studying at Crafted when I need a break from endless hours in the library and want to feel like I’m a bit removed from Vassar’s campus. They also have great coffee which keeps me going when the work piles up.” You’d be surprised how fast you can run through your money just on drinks and bagels, but this study spot is worth it.
9. BRIDGE FOR LABORATORY SCIENCES
“The Bridge” as it’s better known, is very literally, a bridge and the epitome of modern. Grab a seat at any one of the tables that line the long stretch of giant windows that overlook castle-like Skinner Hall and the idyllic Shakespeare Garden. You won’t feel too bogged down by the whole book you have to read in two days when you have the warm sun shining in on you. “I like the bridge building because there’s a lot of natural light and straight lines which is less distracting than the complicated architecture of the library. It also has an appropriate amount of noise for studying, not suffocating quiet or disruptively loud,” freshman Kiera Mulvehill said. While mostly the domain of science majors, the coffee bar attracts plenty of miscellaneous humanities students who can’t help but stay.
10. THE LIBRARY
Clearly a no brainer. But at Vassar, the library isn’t just the library. It’s the library. With its stained glass windows and long wooden tables between rows of colorful old books, you feel like a Hogwarts student in there. Since there seems to be an inexplicable unsaid rule that one person at a table means it’s off limits, you might find it tricky to find an open spot. But that means nabbing one makes you feel all the more special.
“The library is obviously one of the most beautiful buildings on campus, so even just spending a half-hour in there seems like a treat for me. Although midterms and finals week, the library can become a very stressful atmosphere, so I usually avoid it around those times,” sophomore Stephen Kpundeh said. Plus, Matthew’s Bean—if you can find it down there— will serve you caffeine. What more can you ask for?