A Guide to Study Spots at Bates

*updated as of Aug. 14, 2021

Shortly after you settle into Bates and your classes kick into full gear, finding the places on campus where you can be most productive will become critical. During your first few weeks at Bates, you will likely test out a variety of study spots before discovering your favorites. Personally, I find it almost impossible to concentrate in my dorm room, so I always hunker down in one of the academic buildings to do my work. Some locations are more preferable for quiet, independent work, while others are great for group projects and discussion. You may choose to bounce around to different spots depending on the kind of assignment you’re working on, or if you’re like me, you might just spend countless hours in Pgill.

Here’s a short guide to help you navigate the options for studying on campus and get an idea of the environments in each spot — remember, you’ll need to wear a mask and physically distance yourself from others if you plan on using any of these spaces. 

Pettengill Hall (Pgill):

Over the past two years at Bates, I’ve spent more time in Pgill than anywhere else. Pgill is home to many of the humanities classes as well as offices for professors in the Politics, History, Latin American Studies, Classical and Medieval Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Africana, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, and Education departments. Within the four floors of Pgill, there are many options for study spots. 

The Atrium on the first floor is one of my favorite locations on the Bates campus. The couches and comfy chairs are perfect for an afternoon or late night of essay-writing. The view of the puddle is incredible no matter what time of year it is; in the fall, you get to see the bright leaves changing colors, and in the winter, the frozen puddle draws lots of spontaneous ice hockey games. The Atrium is relatively quiet aside from people walking by and friends chatting occasionally. At times during the class day, however, it can get pretty crowded and noisy; when that is the case, I usually venture upstairs.

In addition to classrooms, there are lounges on the second and third floors of Pgill that are a great choice if you and a few friends want a space to yourselves. During the class day, they’re usually free unless there is a meeting or class taking place. The lounges are quite popular during the evening though, so you might have to wait a little for an open one. 

The second and third floors also have computer labs where you use Bates computers as well as do work. Printers are in here too.

The Library (Ladd):

Ladd Library is, of course, a classic study spot. However, your experience will certainly vary depending on which floor you choose. The ground floor is usually where people work together in groups and it gets pretty loud. It is also home to the Math & Stats workshop. The first floor has a similar tendency toward group work and is a good choice if you want to grab a table with your friends to study. The printers and the IT help desk on the first floor can add to the noise level at times. The ARC (Academic Resource Commons), which is where you can access peer tutoring for almost any type of class, is also around the corner. 

The second and third floors of Ladd are geared towards very quiet, independent work. Most people sit at desks by themselves and won’t be having conversations, so there aren’t any distractions there. These floors are often preferred during midterms or finals week. 

Classrooms/lounges in Roger Williams:

Roger Williams is primarily home to foreign language classes as well as the Center for Global Education. Similar to the lounges in Pgill, the lounges here are often full, so you have to get there early in the evening. If you are able to secure a lounge or classroom though, it’s an awesome spot to get work done and has few distractions. 

Classrooms/lounges in Hathorn Hall:

Hathorn holds the Math and English departments. In the evenings, you can study or do work in the classrooms or lounges, though there are fewer options here compared to somewhere like Pgill or Roger Williams.

Classrooms/lounges in Hedge Hall:

Hedge houses the Environmental Studies, Philosophy, and Religious Studies departments. Hedge has numerous classrooms as well as lounge areas. The lounges are convenient spots to work during the day, especially if you have a class in Hedge. The basement also has a computer lab where you can use Bates computers as well as do independent or group work.

Fireplace lounge in Commons:

Although it might be different this year due to changes in Commons, the fireplace lounge is a great place to do work in between classes or before dinner. It can be noisy at popular meal times, but it’s a really cozy spot, especially in the winter. 

The Ronj:

The Ronj is the student-run coffeehouse on Frye Street. It’s usually open during the evenings on weekdays and all day on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a great spot to meet up with friends, get some caffeine or snacks, as well as get work done. The first floor is set up with couches that are perfect for catching up with your friends or working on a group project over coffee. If you’re looking for a more quiet environment without the distractions of people coming in and out, you can go upstairs where there are plenty more seating options, including a private study space.