The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Finding Silence


Coming onto a college campus amongst the lively, energetic environment of orientation, the experience of freshmen is unlike any other. Everyone is excited to introduce themselves and make friends; orientation is marked with a substantial increase in the number of times eye contact turns into small talk.
While the constant activity and people can help serve as a distraction from the imminent homesickness during the first few days of their solo adventure, the noise gets stifling after a while. Finding a place to be alone within a campus that you’re still finding your way around can be a monumental task, and usually one you never have time for. During such times, having spots where you can have some quiet time can be immensely helpful to gather your thoughts, have a few moments away from people, or just use to do your homework.

Everyone has different study strategies that work for them: Henry Buckley ‘19 likes to break up one or two hours of studying with fifteen minutes of activity to stay energized and focused, while junior Christina Perrone ‘20 likes to divide more daunting tasks into smaller, manageable chunks of 30 minute tasks. Some students like to get their work done ahead of time while others can only focus when deadlines are approaching. Most people when asked described their ideal study spots as quiet and isolated places, yet they talked about using the same few places as their go-to study spots–the Ladd Library–and said their favorite quiet spot on campus was their dorm room.

While some students talked about unique places they like to study in, like freshman Alexia Perugini ‘22 who uses the Amphitheatre, or senior Caleb Perlman ‘19 who has recently started using Frank’s Lounge in 280, everyone else prefers some or the other floor of the library–clearly not the place to go if you want solitude. So, outlined below are some places that you can use instead:

OIE Lounge
In Chase Hall

One of the lesser-occupied places on campus, Chase Hall is rife with possibilities for studying alone. The lounge in the Office of Intercultural Education, open to everyone, is one particular place that would be excellent to study in. With multiple seating options combined with a computer room and whiteboard, it is perfect for people looking for study spots with fewer people around – especially if you need to get some writing done.

Muskie Garden
Beside Alumni Gym

The spot to go to if you want to do some reading; academic or otherwise – a small, cozy garden between the Alumni Gym and Muskie Archives–it has a few benches and is usually unoccupied. It will give you the quiet you need to get through a particularly gnarly reading or just get to the book you’ve wanted to read for ages.

Gomes Chapel
On The Quad

The chapel is a space to go to if you need to do some thinking for philosophy classes, or just sit alone in silence. You can also use the benches to do some short readings or writing exercises–and it is unoccupied save for the daily Dharma society meditation sits. If you are someone who doesn’t like having a lot of people around when you want to study, this is definitely somewhere you can go and expect to be alone.

While this list is not exhaustive by any means, it is a good place to start in order to find your personal favorite spot on campus that you like to go to for solitude. The campus offers many opportunities other than the library to study in that go unused, a personal favorite being the classrooms in Pettengill.
So the next time you want to study alone during peak library hours, take a walk around campus without being apprehensive about walking into places you’ve never gone into before–you will definitely be pleasantly surprised at the number of places that suit your preferences!

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