Tips to Finding Your ‘Sweet Spot’ Among Study Spaces at Dartmouth

From the Tower Room, to the Stacks, to 3FB, to the Cube, students share their favorite study spots around campus.

by Hannah Shariff | 8/31/22 3:05am

8-15-22-katelynhadley-fairchild
by Katelyn Hadley / The Dartmouth

This article is featured in the 2022 Freshman special issue.

On my first night at Dartmouth, my floormates and I launched an ill-fated attempt to “break in” to the library at midnight. What our newly-minted college minds failed to realize was that Baker-Berry Library was still very much open — and would be until 2 a.m. As we fiddled with our ID cards, an upperclassman kindly opened the door and instilled upon us our first words of wisdom: “You’ll be spending a lot of time here.” 

After a year at Dartmouth, those words have definitely come true. While college is full of fun new experiences, such as the Homecoming bonfire or Greek life on-nights, an integral part of the journey is learning how to deal with the academic rigors of the 10 week term. For many students, that means finding study spaces that are conducive to staying on top of the course load. But on a college campus with seemingly endless nooks and crannies, where should students gravitate? 

Many students enjoy sticking to the staples, with one of the most mainstream options being the  Tower Room. The Tower Room, a subsection of Baker Library, is a cozy area where students can look at views of campus while tackling readings. 

For Hosaena Tilahun ’25, studying in the Tower Room felt natural. 

“I was like, ‘I need to get the most out of this tuition bill,’” she said. “The room also just looks so pretty and it’s very Harry Potter-esque. Studying there made me feel important.”

Not only is the room’s dark academia aesthetic a highlight of the College, but it’s a place where many students also feel like they can truly focus. 

Callie Marticio ’25 said that spending time in the Tower Room helped her develop better study habits. 

“When I was in high school, I never really studied that much,” Marticio said. “So, when I first came to Dartmouth, the one thing that I gravitated towards the most was the Tower Room, because it was supposed to be silent, and it helps me so much to focus when you’re in a silent room.”

Marticio added that other benefits of the tower room include its above-average temperature, as she said the “ridiculously warm” environment helps her study.  

Ujvala Jupalli ’25 also found that the warmth of the Tower Room helped her complete certain tasks, like readings for classes. However, for other types of assignments, she tends to traverse in other areas such as the Stacks. The Stacks, named for their multitudes of shelves that house the library’s collection of books, are known for being some of the quietest areas in the library with chillier temperatures than other parts of the building.

“At first, I was afraid to go to the Stacks because it’s so intimidating,” Jupalli said. “But then I started studying there for [chemistry classes], and it was so helpful – I always make sure to plan ahead and wear extra layers when I'm going.” 

For those who want silent areas a bit warmer than the Stacks, the third and fourth floors of Berry Library — commonly known as 3FB and 4FB — are also go-to spots for students. Note to new students: Each floor of the library, starting at first-floor Berry, or FFB, gets progressively quieter as students climb to the top.  

Trinity Pryor ’25 said the 3FB environment has everything she needs to finish intense essays or study for tests.  

“3FB is almost always pretty quiet,” Pryor said. “It has a lot of whiteboards, which I love for studying. The windows are also really nice.” 

Pryor also added that the private study rooms on 3FB can also be an added bonus, but she noted that students should book them in advance to avoid getting kicked out by other students with reservations. The large tables with couches can also be a perfect place to quietly study with friends, she added, although they can go fast during busy periods.  

“It helps to reserve your spaces by putting a bag down because it can get ruthless during midterm season [or] finals season,” Pryor said. “Make sure you get there early because trying to study in your room [or] common room during finals is a struggle.”

Some students said they prefer to make the trek all the way to 4FB, the quietest of the four levels. Jared Pugh ’25 said he swears by 4FB because it helps him get into a working mindset. 

“When I need to grind, like really grind for my life, I find that 4FB is a safe haven that facilitates tranquility and the much-needed solemn sort of environment that allows me to accomplish the work and tasks I need to accomplish for the day,” he said. 

While some students expressed that they need silence to study, others said they prefer background noise to get started on their problem sets. Although procrastinating on FFB is considered a Dartmouth pastime, the first floor can be a beneficial avenue for interactive studying and collaborative work. 

Jupalli finds the first floor of Berry to be a perfect place to collaborate with classmates. 

“If I’m doing CS or coding stuff and need a lot of help, I sit in FFB and just pray that people walk by so I can ask them questions,” she said. 

While Tilahun said she sometimes enjoys studying at cafes, such as Ramekin Cafe in Anonymous Hall or Still North Books & Bar off campus in Hanover, she said she feels wary of settling down at Novack Cafe, located on the ground floor of Berry Library. 

“You go in, and you think you're going to study, but then you see everybody and their [mothers],” she said. “Now, you’re in for a two-hour long conversation.” 

But sometimes, it takes venturing outside of the library to find studying sweet spots. One of the most underrated, according to Marticio, is the top of the Hopkins Centerfor the Arts. 

“The [top of the Hop] has these colorful lights going that are just really nice and peaceful to work under, and sometimes people are playing music, which is really peaceful,” she said. 

Tilahun added that even during the day, the view of the Green from the top of the Hop is comparable to the view from the Tower Room and is an excellent alternative for students who appreciate a great lookout. 

Just a few feet away from Foco, some students said House Center B, also known as the Cube, can be a relaxing place to get work done, especially on Sundays when the library is filled to the brim. 

Seokhyun Ryu ’25 said the Cube is one of his favorite spots for completing assignments, and is also a great place to intermix studying with fun moments. He noted that School House sometimes sponsors events there, but he also has fond memories of spontaneous fun with friends at the Cube. 

“The Cube is just really nice and cozy because they have really comfy couches. I really like to just lay back and read stuff with my computer,” he said. “But it’s also really nice because you can be studying there and get to take part in the afternoon weekly teas and hang out with the puppies.”

Ryu said it took him a while to find the Cube. He advised incoming students to constantly be looking for new places to study. 

“I really regret sticking to FFB for my fall and winter term,” he said. “I could have explored and found good study spaces – the sweet spots – earlier. I really recommend trying different places. Move around and discover.”

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