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Martha Hrdy

UVM needs study spaces on Trinity

May 2, 2022

Any student living far from Central campus knows the struggle of finding a place to study.

On Trinity campus, there are few spaces where students can reliably go to study without distractions, other than their dorm rooms. 

UVM should create designated study spaces in dorm buildings throughout all parts of campus.

For me, study spaces are quiet and exist for the main purpose of studying or doing school work, like the library.

UVM’s three libraries, Howe Library, Billings Library and Dana Medical Library, are all located on Central campus.

All three of the libraries are within a few minutes of each other, leaving few quiet spaces to study with library-like conditions on other parts of campus.

As a resident of Trinity campus who spends a little too much time studying, I have made the trek to the Howe Library in the worst conditions, from below zero temperatures to 30 mile-per-hour winds to pouring rain.

Because of the crazy Vermont weather, I often find myself wishing for better study spaces on Trinity.

McAuley Hall, my dorm building, has nothing I would deem a proper study space, a quiet area where students are focused on studying and completing school work. 

There are only two common rooms on the ground floor in McAuley Hall, which are always occupied by groups of students loudly chatting. They turn into hang out spots instead of study areas.

These social spaces are important, but students also need spaces to do their work when they need a break from their rooms. Working in these loud common rooms can be very difficult for me because I need silence to focus on my work.

The only place where I can find a quiet and calm study space is on the second or third floor of Howe Library, the quietest floors, which leave me with fewer distractions.

My focus on schoolwork while in my dorm is often interrupted by the temptation to crawl into bed and take a nap often prevents me from being productive. 

Setting boundaries between my academic life and relaxation space proves challenging.

People who set boundaries between work and home are more likely to separate thoughts about work from their personal spaces, which can lower stress and exhaustion, according to a May 2017 Psychology Today article.

When my dorm room functions as a study spot, social space and relaxation area, finishing work is either difficult or stressful. I value the separation, but living on Trinity makes this difficult.

In the library, it is much easier for me to focus because of the distraction-free environment for studying.

If I had study spaces closer to me, I would be more motivated to get my work done efficiently, which could even indirectly boost my GPA.

Study spaces on other parts of campus could also make studying easier for students off campus. Off-campus students may live closer to Trinity or Redstone campus than they do to Central, making those areas more accessible to them.

If I live closer to Trinity when I move off campus, I would love to have easy access to UVM study spaces.

Coffee shops can work for some, but are often crowded and loud, making it difficult for me to find a place to work productively.

If UVM wants their students to be more focused on academics, they should create designated study spaces on all parts of campus.  

UVM plans to expand Trinity campus, but their plans currently only include building new dorms, according to a Jan. 14 WCAX article.

The school aims to add this additional housing so students can learn well, said Richard Cate, vice president of finance at UVM, according to the article.

If UVM’s goal is to improve students’ learning experiences through the expansion of Trinity, they should designate quiet study spaces in the new dorms. 

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