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[Lifestyle] A Run-Down of Hard-Core Study Spots in NUS

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Image courtesy of studyprof.com

The Libraries

1. Central Library (CL)

This chic multi-storey behemoth serves as a meeting place for many cross-faculty exchanges. You’ll probably find a good reason to be around the Central Library when you take an Arts GEM. Some people find it too crowded, and often infested with way-too-loud study groups, but explore a little further on the upper or lower levels and you’ll find a place to call your study (or snooze) spot.

2. Science Library (SL)

Older than CL, it is still a good spot to get some serious work done. Heavy science textbooks, if not found at CL, are found here.

3. Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library

Conscientious business students will recall this library fondly. Tucked away in the sprawling business campus, it’s a refreshing change of scenery for those who are not business students and want a change.

4. Medical Library

We’ve never been – but we hear there’s a 24-hour reading room. Possibly with hand sanitizers, but we can’t be sure. Yes – welcome to hard work, dear friends.

5. Music Library

A smaller library, but delightfully equipped with sections such as “Miniature/Oversized Scores”. We suspect it is regularly deserted, which is understandable since it lives on the edge of campus at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.

6. CJ Koh Law Library

Unless you are a law student, or have a class at the Bukit Timah Campus, you will not likely find yourself here. With its white walls, second floor terraces that give way to soaring ceilings, and luxurious windows (by luxurious we mean huge) – the architecture alone is noteworthy – an update on the gloomy gothic look.

#Etiquette Note: Some of the libraries have sealed rooms for group discussion.
Use them. Even so, these are not completely sound proof, so observe moderate
volumes. If you are going to have a shouting match, we recommend outdoors, for
example, at the lovely (though bug infested) garden nestled between Central and
Computing. Unless otherwise stated, lonely and quiet people have precedence on
the study tables/benches.

Computing Clusters

There is usually at least one within each library, proportionate to library size. There is also the Computer Center along the way from Central Library to the Engineering block. Finally there are two at Yusof Ishak House (YIH). We think computing clusters are slightly more dull, and less cosy than libraries, but sometimes you need to get some heavy-duty computer work done, and the line at CL is just way too long; these places serve to offload some of the midday printing frenzy. The Mac Commons and PC Commons at University Town (UTown) are the newest kids on the block, but unless you have a lecture at Stephen Riady or a three/four
hour block to spare, it can be quite a way off (not that it takes two hours to get there, but it could take a good half hour). These locales tend to be very heavily populated at night though, due to their close proximity to the UTown colleges and 24-hour card access.

Study Rooms

Besides the ones in the libraries, the major study rooms can be found in YIH and UTown.

disc2#Pet Peeves: We can’t decide what we hate more. People who put mugs and other personal items on a study carrel, essentially colonizing it during high-demand periods like midterm or finals week; or people who leave study debris (read: used Starbucks coffee cups, various junk foods and stacks of dusty paper) behind,either for others to clean up after them, or maybe as a desperate means to “chope” a study desk for a few hours. The former is at least acceptable if there are many other carrels available, but the latter is a complete no-no.

#Etiquette Note: Apart from leaving large items, people also tend to leave bits of themselves behind. Yes! We’ve seen used tissue paper, hair, and other unmentionables. We may share a desk, but we don’t have to share DNA.

Outdoor spaces

Besides the traditional dark wood benches that line the walkways all over NUS, some prefer lounging over a cuppa at Humble Origins, Spinelli or Cedele. Canteens, during off-peak hours, also work well, and make the afternoon snack easily available.

#Senior Tip: The Central Forum, just underneath the Central Library, is a great
space for project work. It’s sheltered but breezy, and has a full regiment of tables
and benches, although not enough power points, so charge up.

That’s it! There are plenty of outdoor spaces, lawns, tables and benches to settle in over the course of the term, and you’ll probably find the one that works best for you, and your friends eventually. Outdoor spaces are more casual and groupstudy/project-work friendly. If the heat gets to you, you may have to find an indoor, but casual space. Some have even developed an art to occupying tutorial and discussion rooms by monitoring the room schedule. Have fun and all the best for the semester!

Samantha Wong
Samantha is a Computer Science major at NUS's School of Computing. She splits her time between writing articles and not writing articles, though she does neither exclusively.