I’ve been doing a lot of “stress thinking” as we enter midterm season, especially about how to study. A lot of research has shown that changing up the place or environment in which you study can be more effective than any amount of cramming. But when there are busy schedules and rehearsals which are central to Krannert and The Music Building, a change of place can be hard to find. That doesn’t mean we can’t rotate, though!
On a rainy day, or more likely a snowy day, I’m super cozy staring (and thinking) out the big window that faces Krannert in the Music Building Library. It’s charming, since you feel like you’re in a snow globe. And there’s this thorough, methodical level of work that can get done, since the environment allows each person to be enveloped in focus. I may be biased because I work at the MPAL, but I truly believe it is one of the most peaceful places I have used to study.
On a day when you need to accomplish a lot, really fast, you must check out the second floor of the Music Building. It’s usually ghostly quiet after eight PM, and there’s no better spot than right beside the balcony exit, tucked indoors and just far enough away from the sounds of elevators and practice rooms. Pro tip: It’s also the place to take personal phone calls when you need a break, because the signal is excellent.
On a tired day, when you need not to fall asleep, try going outside to a bench. Passersby will definitely generate enough white noise, and sometimes there will be an interesting sight or two.
If you need food while working, and you have access to Busey Hall, it’s quite easy to run across the street to “The Bean and Green” and do a little light reading, then go back to the Music Building Lobby. I’d recommend whatever type of cookie they’ve got.
On a day when you’re studying with friends, and you feel like you’re up for a small walk, the outdoor amphitheatre at Krannert Center makes for a great space to commune. I wouldn’t recommend going here at night when there are fewer lights to read by, but it can be really empowering to see things from a slightly higher altitude. It never hurts to have plenty of space either. Pro tip: If you get the chance, spread all of your things out when doing homework so that you are completely in the zone. The more stuff you have to pack up, the more effort you’ll put in to make it worth your while.
The best places to study come in many nooks and crannies! If you have to live at the music building though, it never hurts to discover those places. They’ll come in handy for sure. The biggest secret: If there’s a Professor or TA who can give you office access, ask away! Sometimes it helps to be able to practice or study when you aren’t surrounded by the sounds of other instruments and people.