My Favorite Study Spaces on Campus

Category Student Voices

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Kathleen, HFGP coordinator
Kathleen Bellon Pizarro Class of '24
Authored on October 13, 2021

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With the start of an almost normal fall semester, I've been excitedly exploring as much of Harvard's campus as possible.

As a freshman last year, I wasn't able to go into classrooms, lecture halls, or libraries due to the pandemic. Now, I’ve had a couple of months to check out where I can go to work on p-sets, complete readings, collaborate with friends, and study for exams. So, if you’ve been searching for an insider look into the best spaces on campus to study, you've found the right place!

Smith Campus Center – Collaborative Commons & 10th floor
Now, I’m a person who usually likes to study with some background noise. In these spaces (the Harvard affiliates-only spaces at Smith), you can usually hear soft low-fi music playing on speakers while you work, which is the perfect ambiance for some relaxed studying or reading. Especially on the 10th floor, where you're able to get some really beautiful sights overlooking Harvard's campus. The Smith Campus Center, in my opinion, is best used when you’re not too pressured for work, and you can afford to take a break here and there.

A room white white walls, tables, and couches.

Smith Campus Center

Lamont Library – 2nd Floor Booths
On the flip side, Lamont is the spot to hit when you have a midterm, two p-sets, and a paper due: it’s where you go to get stuff done. While some parts of Lamont can be used for ~relaxed~ studying, like the Basement and Café, the second floor (specifically in the booths against the wall) is where you sit down and get everything on your to-do list marked off. With minimal distractions, these spaces will make sure that you are 100% focused. I've often studied for midterms in the booths here and have found it to be super productive.

Wooden booths along a wall next to bookshelves.

The wonderful Lamont.

Mather D-hall
This may be biased, as I’m a Mather resident myself, but I will say the Mather dining hall is the best space to collaborate with friends and classmates on those p-sets you start the day before they’re due! Paired with Brain Break (late-night snacks that our dining service staff leave out for students to munch on while they work), you’re practically set for a long night of productivity and making great memories with friends. 

A college dining hall with picturing three girls studying with tablets and laptops.

My friends and I studying at the Mather D-hall!

Science & Engineering Complex (SEC) - 2nd Floor Balcony
Now, this is a new one. I was at SEC for the first time this past week, yet it earned a spot on this list that quickly. The SEC is absolutely beautiful, and if you haven’t had the chance to visit yet, I highly recommend doing so. Though the distance may scare people (it certainly did me!), the Allston Loop and Quad-SEC shuttles are available to make the trek much easier. Particularly, the SEC has these amazing study spaces on their 2nd-floor balcony, with gorgeous views on a fall sunny day.

Balcony overlooking a grassy courtyard.

The beautiful SEC.

The views are unmatched from the 2nd floor balcony! Dave Mansaray

Sever Hall - Top Floor
If you take the elevator to the top floor in Sever Hall and walk all the way to the left, you’ll come across a small library that is perfect for relaxed reading. It’s relatively secluded, so if you’re looking for somewhere to study alone (aside from your dorm), you can find it here. The couches in the Sever library are also the comfiest I’ve found so far out of all these places. Don't be surprised if you catch me falling asleep here!

Two black couches surrounded by bookshelves.

The library on the 4th floor of Sever Hall.

Kathleen Bellon Pizarro Class of '24

Hello! My name is Kathleen Bellon Pizarro, and I’m a sophomore concentrating in Molecular and Cellular Biology on the pre-med track. I’m currently living in Mather House (the best house!), but I’ve spent time growing up in both Montana and Texas over the years.

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Kathleen, HFGP coordinator