For a university with an undergraduate population of about 7,000 students, Georgetown has a remarkably small campus. While my lazy ass certainly wouldn’t want to change this, there are definitely a few drawbacks to this situation. Most notably: There is not a lot of extra space. Study areas are relatively few and fill up fast; by the end of your freshman year you feel like you’ve explored every corner of this campus. Hopefully this ranking offers you insight as to where you should go and where you’re wasting your time.
I’m just gonna say it: Sellinger is fucking trash. Even though its combination of long tables, plush chairs, small tables, and high tables should make Sellinger the ideal college study spot, there’s just something about the space that makes it impossible for me to do work there. I always feel extremely exposed and never fully understand the vibe. During the day, Sellinger is as noisy as Lau 2, but after 10 p.m it’s as quiet as Bioethics. Either way, it’s impossible to actually do work here and I try to avoid it at all costs…also rats.
- Leavey Esplanade
The Leavey Esplanade (on both the fourth and fifth floors of Leavey) is great in theory. It has a beautiful view of campus and provides a sense of removal that can create a great atmosphere for studying. However, reality brings with it the elements of nature. Obviously, the Esplanade is no good when it’s rainy or cold, but even on a perfectly fine day a light breeze makes it impossible to keep your readings in order. Moreover, the direct sunlight renders your laptop screen invisible. If Georgetown would just give one-third of a shit and invest in some tents, more tables, or even just umbrellas that actually work, the Leavey Esplanade would certainly crawl up at least seven spots on this list.
- Einstein Bros
I think this is technically called the “Car Barn Student Commons” or something but either way, you know what I mean. Even though I always see people studying inside the Einstein Bros or at the big table outside, I have never once encountered an open seat. While the set-up seems kind of nice, you are still in a windowless cave. There’s also no way you can actually plan to study here because it will probably be completely full at whatever time you choose to take advantage of the best meal-swipe deal offered on campus.
- An Empty Classroom
Empty classrooms are definitely a weird vibe, but I can see how they would be effective.
1. White Gravenor
You feel like you’re in an actual college classroom. The rooms are pretty big with good lighting and nice views (if you’re on the side facing Copley). Also a lot of clubs like Rangila and GUerrilla Improv use empty White Gravenor classrooms to practice and I think that’s cool.
Empty Reiss classrooms are depressing but get the job done. You can also attempt to find the classroom that contains the entrance to the now-sealed MedStar Hospital tunnel. If you’re lucky, you can get one of the big lecture halls all to yourself and it’s honestly a power trip.
No windows and weird lighting, but the smaller size is a plus, especially if you’re just studying by yourself. In my experience, ICC classrooms are much better for throwing watch parties than doing actual work.
Never really been in an empty Healy classroom but I imagine it would be kind of cool. You either get a pretty decently-sized room to study in or end up accidentally crashing the weekly GUSA Senate meeting.
Maguire classrooms should be avoided at. all. costs.
Studying in Arrupe reminds me of this one time when I was on a train and literally every normal seat was full so I yeeted into the business class car and prayed that I wouldn’t be caught. That is to say, as someone who lives in Southwest Quad, sitting in Arrupe just seems like trying and failing to mix in with the Bourgeois. The booths and plush round chairs are nice but noticeably sparse, and I can never shake the feeling that because I do not live in Arrupe, I shouldn’t actually be there. Plus, many times people will be using the kitchen and the food smells so good that it is distracting.
Everyone tells me that I should be sad that Blommer is closing. Honestly, it looks like an okay study space—though perhaps a tad bland and sterile—but as a non-STEM student I always just feel out of place there. I’m sure that this means Blommer is great for STEM students, but they’re not the ones making this list so here we are. Also, one time I went to Blommer 10 minutes before my Problem of God class in Reiss to print out an essay and the printer didn’t work. Some things you can forgive but never forget.
- FJR Common Room
Again, I get similar Arrupe-Bourgois problems here. However, it’s a pretty good place to read and maybe take a break from studying to play some pool. Very well-lit and pretty quiet but not too quiet.
- The Royal Jacket Tables
I don’t know what to call these, but they’re those tables in the part of Leavey directly across from the hospital and connected to the hotel. These have a good mix of privacy and openness. Not great for reading, but good for writing. People that you know will walk by to provide you with a brief respite, but won’t stay long enough to distract you because the tomato mozz is calling their name.
Yes, Lau is ugly, but it sure is reliable and not the horrible place that some make it out to be. It also might be the only study spot on campus where you are sure to find space, which earns big points in my book.
1. Lau 1
Gets the fucking job done. You know that you’re there to do work but it doesn’t feel overbearing.
2. Lau 4
Kind of similar vibe to Lau 1 but with a nicer view, and slightly more difficult to focus. Sometimes certain people think it’s okay to talk at the big round tables next to the study cubicles and they are incorrect.
3. Lau 3
Good for doing non-essential readings. One time I accidentally fell asleep on one of the couches.
4. Lower Level (Lau B)
It’s grind time baby. It’s finals season, the blood in your veins is just coffee, you haven’t seen daylight in eight hours. Soul-sucking and probably haunted.
5. Lau 5
I’m always sick so I don’t like being somewhere where I feel like I can’t cough. Honestly just not that much study space in general.
6. Lau 2
Hahahahahaha, imagine thinking that you’re going to study on Lau 2. I straight up roll through to Lau 2 without any work just to talk to my friends. Lau 2 mini-group study rooms can come in clutch tho.
Saxbys is great. I wouldn’t go there to grind, but it’s a good place to sit down and get ahead on work. Also the food and coffee are damn good.
By Regents I mean the third floor with the booths and the little blue soft chairs with desks attached to them. It can be hard to get a booth to yourself, but once you do it’s a great place to study, either alone or with friends. You can also feel very inadequate as pre-med students do the most around you.
*sigh* HFSC should be the best study spot on campus, but again, Georgetown doesn’t want to invest even one-third of a shit. The booths and big tables are super nice, but the other half of the Great Room is almost completely barren, with just some crusty-ass rolly couches in the middle. Like…just…put in more…furniture??? The HFSC patio is super buggy and the nice wooden tables are reserved for Bulldog Tavern. Also, one time I was lucky enough to get one of those numbered study spots and was disappointed to find that the overhead lighting is way too harsh.
Bioethics scares me. Somehow whenever I go there I enter some of the most productive periods of my life. Something just kicks me into high gear. Bioethics is super beautiful and great on a rainy day. However, it fills up fast and the outlets are not conveniently located.
Hariri might be the best study spot on campus. There are plenty of comfy booths and chairs on every level. You are given a decent amount of privacy, but the beautiful open floor plan doesn’t make you feel suffocated. There is always available space. Hariri is not first on this list, however, because it’s the MSB. It’s deadly quiet during classes and you just have to live with the fact that all around you students are probably learning how to legally avoid paying taxes once they found or become part of a multi-million dollar corporation. Also, if you’re not in the MSB you get locked out at a certain time in the evening—elitism. Hariri is beautiful, but it also means thrusting yourself into the middle of a snake pit.
- ICC Galleria
Many of my qualms with these study spots have been some sense of not-belonging. Well, let me tell you, as a Government major and Spanish minor the ICC is my bitch. Not to flex, but here’s how well acquainted I am with the Edward B. Bunn S.J. Intercultural Center: Most of the time when I’m on the first and second floors I don’t get lost. The Galleria used to be pretty shitty, but the makeover it got over the summer has bolted the lobby to the top of this list. While the new furniture does not match the aesthetic of the building at all, it doesn’t matter. The plush round blue chairs are extremely comfy. They help you feel focused and solitary, but not isolated. The weird narrow white tables are somehow extremely convenient and maximize space. You can use the same table as three other people (all sitting in comfy soft green chairs) and each be doing your own thing. I’ve also had pretty good luck with finding space here. Unfortunately, you can’t work there after sunset because almost all of the Galleria’s light comes from a skylight.
Honorary mention: Riggs
I mean…a girl can dream, right?
- Uncommon Grounds
Understated but wonderful, UG is the best study spot on campus. I have written whole essays here, but also simply caught up on a few non-essential readings for class. The large tables, couches, and bar all provide great spaces for getting work done. The surprisingly high-vaulted ceiling contributes to the home-y atmosphere. At UG, people are being productive but are not stressed (a very unusual balance for Georgetown). Also, I hate to admit it, but the UG baristas are normally playing some pretty good music. UG is a space that feels intimate but also allows you to be independent in your studying. That being said, it’s a fine place to work on a group project too. Grab your iced dirty vanilla chai latte and sit down to enjoy some good tea, good tunes, and good vibes.
Image Credits: Skyler Coffey