Campus Study Spots with Ambiance
By Margot Corper
How to avoid Howie T and feel good about it
A space of education should inspire
The presence of this energy is not always at the forefront of Tulane’s campus mentality. Unlike some schools renowned for their intensity, Tulane prides itself on an attitude that has come to be known as “work hard, play harder;” a phenomenon that is widely appreciated among students. However, shouldn't Tulane's campus provide space that reflects and encourages the, "work hard" part?
In response, this article strives to shine a light on the lesser known campus gems; nooks sought after by students who struggle to focus in popular study spots like the LBC. For a list of Tulane’s oases, read on.
In comparison, The University of Chicago is a school that, in many ways, is the complete antithesis of Tulane. Over winter break, while exploring its campus, I was struck by the buzz of intellectual fervor. Even more compelling was the student body’s embodiment of these traits. Everything about U Chicago screamed collegiate life. Set on a brisk wintery day, the lawns were mowed to perfection, and the sun shone upon its gothic architecture. The students left on campus wore controlled expressions of smug introspection. While the academic intensity was palpable, the happening buzz Tulane monopolizes was essentially nonexistent.
Lulled, I wandered into the nearest campus bookstore. Again, I felt the buzz of a focused mass, concentrated and practically constricted to its campus, which fostered and mirrored the sentiment. Everything about the bookstore was perfect. Adjacent to a small café, filled with attractive couples sipping teas and indulging in their surroundings, I entered the premises. Here, I found myself received by a sea of turtlenecks and a population whose pastimes include The Rubik’s Cube and gentility.
Tulane’s campus lacks the same propensity for intellectual spirit. When first encountering its campus, one tends to note its warmth, palm trees, and proximity to both a bar and liquor store. One of its student complains that even “The desk chairs in our dorm rooms make studying uncomfortable, who thought rocking chairs were a good idea?”
However, this shouldn’t be the case. Tulane is filled with students who spend hours in the library, driven by goals of the short and long-term variety. Ask anyone on campus to relay their future plans and you will find yourself confronted with inspired ramblings. Generally, Tulane students are happy where they are and don’t crave any sort of drastic change, especially if that change means the cessation of socializing. This said, locations on campus that foster focus are limited.
The first and most obvious example of this void is epitomized by Tulane’s “bookstore.” Antithetical to the cozy, thoughtfully selected stacks nestled on 5801 S. Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL, Tulane’s version offers a table jumbled with a few airplane reads, self help books, and novels clearly selected because the purveyor judged the book by its cover. Surrounding this table are shelves, cases, and racks dedicated to the promotion of Tulane branded anything and everything. In fact, most of the adjoining merchandise disregard intellectual enhancement altogether and, instead, focuses on the physical. Stocked to the brim are lipsticks, lotions, piles of apparel, and related makeup products. Welcome to the Tulane bookstore.
The metaphorical sentiment of Tulane’s bookstore permeates through the campus. While within the grounds of the university, there are few places that inspire the extraneous delve. Where are the intimate coffee shops, plush study rooms, aromatic cafes, well-equipped student lounges, and science labs that evoke daydreams of their formaldehyde-doused, white haired founders?
The goal here is not to replicate U Chicago. The students Tulane attracts chose to enroll because they love the university, its inherent dichotomy of work and play, and the chance to live in a city that offers a priceless education of its own. Instead, this piece aims to implement a little bit of the U Chicago charm while upholding the roots of a school adored by so many. Listed below you will find Tulane’s lesser known study spots. Enjoy!