What does your choice of Newcastle study space say about you?

Are you a library lover or a sofa slob?

For many students, the turn of the New Year is an uncomfortable reminder that we are halfway through the uni year, and by February the ‘realistic’ resolutions we made on the 31st December are now laughable. Did you really believe you would run five times a week, drink less alcohol, and try to go to bed before 2am every night? If so, the joke’s on you. However, something that really isn’t funny is how much uni work we’ve neglected over the Christmas break.

It’s a fact that all seasoned students know: the second semester does not come to play. In the aftermath of January exam season, the realisation hits that you’re two weeks behind on your lectures and haven’t even chosen a dissertation topic yet – the 2:1 you initially had your eye on now seems completely out of question.

Choosing your study space matters more than ever this year, and whether you work best in the library, a study cluster area or in your bedroom, you’ll be interested to find out what this location says about you.

The library

Let’s begin with a crowd favourite: The library. In previous years, the Robbo has been the key to academic success for many students with its vast selection of books, 24/7 opening hours, and study spaces in abundance.

However, the shocking revelation of its closure after the Christmas holidays has meant that many loyal Robbo-goers have had to reluctantly make the switch to Phil’s inferior consort, the Marj. With just a two-day window in which to book a seat, those spaces fill up quicker than tickets to a Drake concert. Also, the Marj’s 242-person capacity means one thing: you either have to be super organised, or risk having to move seats every hour wherever you can get in (the irony of me writing this article in the library whilst doing exactly the latter is shameful).

Ultimately, library-goers tend to be cool, calm and rarely behind on any work. And currently, with the library being just about the only place students are permitted to go in Newcastle, the Marj is the new fashion capital of the North East. Fear not, all those new North Face jackets and Nike Air Force Ones were not wasted as Christmas gifts, and are a familiar sight within the walls of the University libraries for all you cool cats and kittens to flaunt your OOTD.

Study areas on campus

Next are the lesser-known study areas on campus, such as the Armstrong, Hadrian and Old Library clusters. For many of you, these locations were featured on your Freshers’ Week campus tour, but have since never been visited. For others, these rooms may have been brief accidental pitstops when trying to locate the whereabouts of a seminar room in the labyrinth that is the Armstrong Building.

These rooms were designed for those students who wish to escape the void of their box room whilst evading any form of human interaction. You may be met with a friendly greeting from a caretaker, but overall these desolate spaces in the corners of campus reflect its current ghost town status.

The SU

Not organised enough to book the Marj, but scared you’ll get lost in the Armstrong building? NUSU is the place for you. With numerous computers, desks and sofas, this area has something for everyone (does anyone actually know what those red pods are for?). The motivational wall murals further enhance the visual learning environment of this area, despite definitely being designed by someone called Karen.

But don’t be fooled – the SU typically attracts students who are less work-driven and more forthcoming about the events of their Saturday night house bar crawl. They will always be seen drinking coffee from the nearby machine with their laptop seldom open, and the occasional trip to the Co-op downstairs provides another excuse to procrastinate. The clock striking 5pm is a cue for these students to loudly exclaim their astonishment at the rapidity of time, before packing away their belongings and heading home for a “well deserved” evening off.

A café

Everyone can recognise a café native as soon as they walk through the door of their favourite indie coffee shop; look out for the flared jeans, oversized thrifted jumpers, hair clipped up in a messy bun and a MacBook under their arms. Their favourite spot is by the window, where the lighting is perfect to post a Boomerang on their Instagram story. Word of warning: Do not sit here unless you want to be slandered in their group chat.

Approximately half of their student loan is spent on oat milk chai lattes and fancy-looking vegan breakfasts, and their tendency to sit on tables meant for six people is further evidence that they are comfortably the most annoying type of student. But for now, with Covid restrictions, these café queens are exiled to study spaces elsewhere. Can I please get a moment of silence for the students who are physically unable to work somewhere as common as the library? Is that worthy of a PEC?


This one is for my home-birds, who barely made it into uni before Covid, nevermind when they don’t actually need to leave the house. Within the next week, they have two essay deadlines, five lectures to catch up on and 2,000 words to read for a seminar, but whether their ideal study space is in the comfort of their bed or on the sofa, realistically not much work gets done until the night before it’s due.

Their optimal window of productivity is between the hours of 10pm and 5am, and the last time they went outside during daylight hours was when they were forced on a family walk on Christmas Day. Between Zoom calls, making food, watching TV and socialising with their housemates, there is absolutely no time for doing the washing up, so a collection of stale coffee mugs reside on their bedside table as a shrine to their many all-nighters. They’re too chilled out for their own good, but they’ve managed to get this far so it must be working somehow.

Whether you prefer a long, productive day at the library, a quiet session in the vacant corners of campus, a comparatively unproductive social occasion in the SU, an Instagram-worthy location with good food and coffee, or a lazy day with minimal effort, we’re not judging. Except you home folk; please, for the love of God, open your curtains, crack open a window and change out of your pyjamas once in a while!

P.S. You can find out which on-campus study spaces are open here.

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