Declassified: From friendly to desolate, a guide to study spaces on campus

Trinity may be a small school, but our study spaces are as plentiful as they are different from each other. So that you don’t have to scramble — perhaps in the middle of the night — to determine the most appropriate location for your caffeine-fueled study session, I’ve made a handy list of several study situations and the spaces that best fit them.

Research paper → Coates Library

Coates Library is an ideal location for not just research papers but all kinds of work. The colors are warm; the couches are comfortable. The kind library staff is there to help, and Starbucks coffee flows freely — or you can buy it, at least. You can also choose how much noise you want while you work: Where the third floor buzzes with pleasant activity, the first floor is almost completely silent.

If you are writing a research paper, though, you might actually need to spend a lot of time in the library. You’ll consult a wide variety of sources in your time at Trinity, from textbooks to literary journals to DVDs. You could grab your research materials from the lib and work elsewhere, but why do that when you might suddenly need a new source, a new book, a new perspective?

Casual reading → Those damn Adirondack chairs

Sometimes college is a hellish rush to get a scrap of mediocre work on your professor’s desk by deadline just to have something to show for your hours of pain and procrastination. But there will also be days when you make like a kid on a marketing brochure, go sit in one of those famous white Adirondack chairs and bask in the Texas sunlight while reading your book. Watch your friends mill around the fountain. Wait for a butterfly to land delicately on your arm or for a marketing photographer to snap some pics for the university’s Insta. Enjoy your afternoon.

Not every study session has to be painful, especially on a campus as beautiful as this one. If you’re momentarily unencumbered by a deadline but you also want to stay caught up on your reading, Adirondack chairs are the place for you.

Subject-specific project → Subject-specific location

Does your coding project need a comp sci lab? Is your comm capstone incomplete without a windowless room full of computers, all fully equipped with the Adobe creative suite?

You’ll likely find that many professors will assign projects that require certain tools — tools that live in certain rooms. In fact, entire majors have official hang out spaces: You’re sure to find engineering students camping out in CSI’s design cube and music majors living it up in the Dicke-Smith practice rooms. Even organizations have their “spots:” If you can’t find me anywhere, I’m definitely in the newsroom among the Trinitonians.

Having a space that caters to a particular project is great. We’re lucky to have access to an abundance of resources here at Trinity, and if you get to problem-solve with friends as you complete your work, that’s another bonus. But remember to keep these spaces clean for others. Just because you and your friends hang out in a certain space doesn’t mean it belongs to you. Have your fun, do your work and keep your Cheeto dust far away from the computers.

Sad study day → Your very own dorm

You have a lot of work, but you’re sad. You’re having a rough time. You need some peace and quiet and to not see twenty acquaintances who know your major, minor and entire dating history. Put on a face mask and some Bon Iver, friend, and embrace the isolation of your very own dorm room.

Sure, it’s not always ideal to work near your bed due to the likelihood that you’ll succumb to a nap, but studying in your dorm is a good way to take a break from people. Just don’t have your light on too late and keep your roommate up: If you want to study into the night without trekking to upper campus, there are study spaces on the lowest floor of Witt Winn and in the Beze underground — among other places.

Full all-nighter → CSI

Something CSI has that Coates Library does not: All. Night. Access. If you swipe in at midnight and out right before your 9:30 a.m. class, CSI doesn’t know. CSI doesn’t judge.

It’s a bit creepy working near those endless hallways and floor-to-ceiling windows when it’s dark out; CSI was built to let in as much sunlight as possible and feels literally and figuratively cold without it. Yet the hollow desolation of late-night CSI is a strange gift. It gives you no other option than to work. There are no snacks to be bought, no friends to be found and not even the slightest of visual distractions.

Remember, post-all-nighter, to care for yourself. Get some sleep. Hug a friend. Promise yourself you won’t stay up that late again, while fully knowing that it’s bound to happen.


Well, that’s all folks. I hope you learned a thing or two about the spaces Trinity has to offer. If you hate all these ideas, feel free to flee campus, find a coffee shop, go home or make your own study fort out of blankets and cardboard. Whatever you have to do to get through the semester.