There are a precious few places to study in solitude on a college campus. You can try scoring a private study carrel at your library, but more often than not they’re booked full. That’s why most students end up studying in common areas at the library or other buildings on campus. But these areas are shared space, meaning certain rules of etiquette apply:
1. Adjust your volume
Never be the person who makes too much noise while other people are trying to study. If you’re part of a study group, and want the freedom to have discussions, sit outside, at a coffee shop, or in the student union, where the noise won’t bother people. The library, on the other hand, is probably not an appropriate venue.
2. Adjust the volume of your earphones
There’s nothing wrong with rocking out while you study. But don’t be the guy who listens to music so loudly that people can hear from across the room. Turn the volume down, protect your ears, and respect your neighbors!
3. Silence your cell phone
The ringing of a cell phone is a piercing distraction. The sound of it vibrating isn’t much better. Either silence your phone completely or turn it off.
4. Don’t hog the furniture
You don’t need one chair for your body and another for your feet. Nor should you keep a long wooden table, made for six people, entirely to yourself. There’s no need to spread out everything you own—your books, your jacket, your computer, your bag of snacks, and whatever else you may be carrying. This is especially true if the common area in which you’re studying is very busy.
5. No aromatic food
Without a doubt, studying is better when food is involved. Or at least coffee! But save the fragrant curries, fish sauce, stinky cheeses, and other aromatic foods for home. At best, you’re making other people hungry. At worst, you’re making them nauseous.
The golden rule? Respect thy neighbors. Studying is tedious even in an ideal environment, so don’t make it harder for other people.